Church of Love Campus, Anchorage, Alaska
Spenard Neighborhood Mural and Vertical Garden, 2017
Sponsored by Cook Inlet Housing Authority with funding from ArtPlace America
Spenard Hub of the Universe!, a 23’ high 13.5’ wide mural, highlights the lively history and unique identity of the Spenard neighborhood.
I enjoyed collaborating with artist Chad Taylor of Intrinsic Landscapes and graphic designer Sarah Lindsey of Little Bird Design Studio on this project. Chad planned the layout to depict a Spenard street map, built the understructure and installed the mural and vertical garden.
I designed the mural panels and created black paper cutouts for its key elements. The cutouts were scanned, combined with colorful computer graphics, then enlarged, printed on vinyl, and adhered to a sturdy, commonly used signboard. In summer, wooly pockets with live plants fill the “streets” between the shaped panels. In winter, the pockets are removed and pulsating lights shine through.
The upper parts show a Spenard Lake/Lake Hood floatplane and iconic windmill, Joe Spenard’s Model T and an Alaska Railroad train. The large lower panel illustrates the Spenard post office Quonset from the 1940’s and a typical log cabin home. Fish Creek king salmon and sandhill cranes speak to the natural environment and the Dena’ina people who fished, hunted and picked berries in the area 1000-1500 years ago. Seductive legs and other symbols represent aspects of Spenard‘s business history. Historical text and brief biographies of some early Spenardians also give a flavor of the area.
Spenard Hub of the Universe! is part of CIHA’s and Chad Taylor’s collaborative Reclaiming Asphalt project, a creative placemaking initiative to reimagine the urban streetscape as a pedestrian friendly, living corridor.
Providence Cancer Center, Anchorage, Alaska
Powered by Passion Campaign Donor Wall, 2007-2008
I was commissioned to create the Powered by Passion donor wall by the Providence Alaska Foundation for their new Cancer Center. The wall, in the Center’s lobby, honors the generous donors, and is a gathering place for those who work at the facility, wait for treatment or accompany friends and family. My goal was to present an intricate, engaging design with a positive feeling, soothing colors and a sense of movement and stability. Ideas evolved as I studied historical and contemporary sun symbols and other circular designs from around the world. These included ancient coins and calendars, astronomical images, bird motifs, cell structure, and basket weave patterns. A clearly legible field of donor names, with corresponding giving levels, is laser-etched into 18 accompanying maple slats. They are installed in a parallel format and surround the 45” diameter handmade tile mural set in a maple frame.
In addition, two custom maple strips (baseboard and top trim) contain hundreds of recessed and grouted handmade tiles. They frame the 10-foot high by 30-foot wall.
Boney Courthouse Law Library, Anchorage, Alaska
Six handmade tile murals, 2016
Through the Alaska State Percent for Art Program, the Alaska Court System purchased a series of five of my circular ceramic tile murals for the remodeled Boney Courthouse Law Library. The Celestial Series presents clusters of shapes and colors moving at different speeds as they radiate out. Some spin rapidly while others are calmer. The low-relief surface detail engages the viewer and invites individual interpretation. The pieces are in harmony with the existing wood paneling.
Layers of letters pressed into the clay partially obscure the readability of a quote about aspirations by Louisa May Alcott. Light and shadow reveal the words at certain angles.
In addition, the Court System purchased a literary, square piece for an adjacent reading room.
South Anchorage High School Library, Anchorage Alaska
Information Ages Book Display, 2004
Municipal 1% for Art Program
When the new South Anchorage High School was being built, I worked closely with architects to modify the design of the library circulation desk and incorporate a curved glass display niche. I used the 16-foot long niche to exhibit Information Ages, a piece comprised of a handmade paper and mixed media accordion book, and several sewn books.
These detailed, educational bookworks are an artistic interpretation of moments in time in the history of human communication. They tell some of this fascinating story to students who are growing up in the digital age. The books show the use of different materials as information storage systems, and highlight mark making and the development of books and paper in different cultures. I present written didactics throughout.
South Anchorage High School, Anchorage, Alaska
Handmade Tile Murals, 2004
Municipal 1% for Art Program
At South Anchorage High School, I coordinated closely with contractors to install sixteen of my colorful, textured, handmade ceramic tile murals into four restrooms. The work contains detailed compositions with spiral movement and geometric patterns. Some have words by famous thinkers and poets. Sizes vary from 32” squares, to 16” squares. Also, we placed numerous smaller pieces throughout the restrooms’ 8”x 8” gray and white field tile. I chose vibrant commercial tile for top trim and floor accents. In addition, we inset five ceramic tile pieces into one of the school’s stairwells.