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White Flint at the North Bethesda Market

14 Jun

Jim Sanborn’s sculpture often serves a document of a particular event in history that had far-reaching ramifications for humankind. Pieces like Terrestrial Physics and, especially, Atomic Time serve as confrontational, awe-inspiring and perhaps even frightening reminders of great strides forward in scientific progress during the middle of the last century, but Sanborn’s new work at JBG’s North Bethesda Market in White Flint, Alluvium, is more subtle but no less documentarian in its approach.

We here at Artists Circle are proud to have had the chance to work with Mr. Sanborn and JBG to create such a powerful and indeed, beautiful piece of public art at the North Bethesda Market.

Alluvium Installation

Jim Sanborn installing Alluvium

Taking its name from the white “flint” (i.e. quartz) so common in Central Maryland, the area today is most well known for its shopping mall and Metro station, with the North Bethesda Market already proving itself to be a popular destination. However, development necessarily alters the landscape and shapes the environment into something more suitable for our needs. Oftentimes the change is so dramatic that any trace of the previous, natural environment is completely wiped away. Alluvium, with its waterfalls that recall Great falls and quartz-rich granite that echoes the quartz one would surely find deep below the surface of the paseo on which the sculpture sits,  reveals its allusions to the geography of the region as one sits and contemplates its elements.

Alluvium serves as an excellent example of how public art can be constructed at new development sites in such a way as to document the history of the place where it is built and to celebrate that natural heritage. However, with its machine-cut lettering and industrial-scale copper sheeting, the foundation of the piece is itself engineered by modern man rather than carved by centuries of erosion and geological activity, inextricably linking it with the development it is a part of.

Alluvium Unveiled

The Unveiling of Alluvium

Read more about Alluvium, including commentary on the piece and the project by Sanborn himself, in this recent article in The Washington Post.


Artists Circle Provides Art for Kaiser Permanente’s New Capitol Hill Space

11 Apr

While any space can benefit from the addition of great art, we are especially grateful to have the opportunity to work in so many buildings with fantastic architecture that demand a unique approach be taken with the art in the space. Kaiser Permanente’s new medial office building on Capitol Hill is a perfect example of such a space and we were very excited to have the chance to flex our creative muscles with this project. Working closely with the client, we decided that the best approach was to use a mixture of a variety of media and styles rather than sticking with an assortment of a single type of art. The mixture of paintings, photography, wall mounted ceramic and glass sculpture and prints on plexiglass and bamboo panels provide a rich variety while the three-dimensional nature of many of the pieces adds depth to the space.

Angie Seckinger’s macrophotographic murals provide extremely detailed close-ups of plants and leaves and were a perfect fit for the spaces behind reception area desks. Their intense depth-of-field lends a great deal of drama to what might otherwise be a rather mundane-seeming feature of the building.


Glass and ceramic mosaic wall pieces by Barbara Galazzo and Janine Sopp provided a perfect solution for a difficult space: a long, gently curved wall that would prohibit the use of wall-mounted pieces on paper, canvas or other two-dimensional media. Barbara and Janine’s mosaics interact with the lighting, casting colored shadows on the wall and on each other as they are set at different distances from the surface. This installation effectively turns the entire wall into a huge curved canvas.

John Watson’s stunning details of leaves are a perfect fit for printing on large panels of sustainable bamboo. This unique presentation brings the piece out some distance from the wall and allows for a more natural look without the artificial cropping effect that can result from using a more traditional frame. The result is a much more organic approach to art installation that reflects the subjects of the pieces as well as the materials used in their construction.

The work of these three artists is just a sampling of the wealth of variety to be found in Kaiser’s new art collection. Not only is the art itself quite diverse, but the artists tapped for the project range from hand-picked local talents to artists from all over the country selected because we felt their work would be a perfect fit for the building. We’re very pleased with the results and are happy to say that the folks at Kaiser are, too! We think that the art chosen for the space goes a long way to scrub away any last traces of the “clinical” feel that can oftentimes make hospitals and doctors’ offices seem so unwelcoming, instead providing a sense of warmth and openness that we hope makes the space that much more pleasant for the staff to work in and for patients to experience during their visits to the facility.

Special thanks to Hye Jin Kim for her wonderful photographs of the installed pieces.

Behind the Scenes: Artist Peter Kitchell’s Process

23 Feb

When time or proximity allow, we are lucky enough to make studio visits, which allow us to go “behind the scenes” and assess the quality and craftsmanship invested into each piece of art.  Sometimes we wish we could share this experience with our clients because it often gives a whole new perspective and appreciation for the final product.  Well, today you are lucky enough to get a peek at one artist’s studio, Peter Kitchell, who just finished these pieces for one of our projects (stay tuned for a separate post with more project photos).

GMAC: Round Two!

10 Feb

A good portion of our new projects are brought to us by repeat clients.  Why?  Not to boastfully give ourselves a big pat on the back, but it’s because we did a great job the first time around!

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC for those of us who are averse to tongue twisters) is one of those repeat clients.  In 2007 we outfitted their Tysons Corner office with a collection of fun, colorful pieces.  When they were ready for a move to Reston Town Center a few months ago, they called on Artists Circle once again to assist with art for their new, Fox Architects design space.  Funky green chairs and a calming 2-story waterfall attest to GMAC’s concern for employee satisfaction.  The artwork selected by the GMAC team also reflects this mission; a bright, enlivened collection of prints adds to the bright, cheerful environment.

PNC Goodies

28 Oct

In a previous entry, we showcased a snapshot of a painting we installed at PNC Bank’s new regional headquarters, but we couldn’t resist sharing more pictures with you.  PNC was a delight to work with!  They selected some very unique and interesting pieces of artwork ranging from photographs taken at recycling plants (an homage to PNC’s Environmental Responsibility initiative) to monoprints and acrylic on mylar paintings.  PNC wanted to pay tribute to the DC arts scene by purchasing artwork by local, Washington area artists.  Fortunately, Artists Circle’s database of artists is largely DC proportioned, so we were ready for the challenge to meet PNC’s requirement.

Just a side note: the Gensler team’s talents really shine on this project.  In addition to a space featuring a “growing wall” of plants in the lobby, they also incorporated museum displays and wall graphics throughout the building, along with touch screen directories and displays in both the office building and branch.  It is certainly one of the nicest spaces Artists Circle has had an opportunity to work on!


5 Oct

Take a look at these two prints on canvas we installed for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA).  They requested artwork that subtly reflects their industry and compliments the colors FOX Architects introduced to their new space.  As prints on canvas, these pieces also satisfied budget restraints.  Prints on canvas are a great alternative to original paintings; often, they are even more economical than prints on paper framed in a traditional way.  A few wooden stretcher bars costs much less than a mat, glass, and moulding.

An Atypical Summer!

5 Aug

Summertime and the livin’s easy busy!  While most of you are (hopefully) sipping margaritas on the beach, we at Artists Circle have been preoccupied with several exciting new projects.  No complaints though!  Included in the current mix are law firms, a huge hospital project, and several nonprofits.  We’re pretty amped about these jobs; not only will they require fresh new work that we haven’t proposed before, but the project teams are also the friendliest, most enthusiastic groups to work with.

Last month’s completed jobs include NetApp, Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), and a Booz Allen Hamilton installation.  Artwork in these projects ranged from black and white photographs of Washington, DC to original paintings and more affordable edition prints on paper.


Artwork installed at GMAC

Booz Allen Hamilton

‘More Public Artwork to Rev up Rockville Pike’

21 Apr

Artists Circle Fine Art was mentioned in an article published by the Montgomery County Gazette:

At North Bethesda Market, visitors and residents who use the paseo will have the chance to view a sculpture produced by Sanborn, an artist famous for his encrypted Kryptos sculpture at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., said Jack Devine, principal of Artists Circle Fine Art in North Potomac and an art consultant for JBG Companies.

Sanborn, who was not available for comment, has created an 8-foot high, 4-foot wide bronze cylinder perforated with waterjet cut text. Inside, the cylinder will have a pinpoint light source, while outside it will be surrounded by a red granite text ring, Devine said.

During the day, the texts can be seen on the cylinder or from the surface of nearby pavement. At night, the interior light will project the text over a wide area, Devine said. Near the sculpture will be a waterfall bordered by a white granite “river of stone” and a polished red granite oval ring.

“I think it will be quite captivating and people will respond well,” Devine said.

(‘More public artwork to rev up rockville pike’ by Cedric Ricks.  Published in the Montgomery County Gazette on March 24th, 2010)

Click here for the full article.

GXS Success! (try saying that ten times really fast)

11 Mar

Last night, Artists Circle’s Principal – Jack Devine – and an installation crew worked well into the evening installing over one hundred pieces of artwork in the new headquarters building for GXS in Rockville, Maryland.  The pieces, selected in advance by GXS employees, were hung in individual offices.

Designed by FOX Architects, the space already had rich, warm fabrics and finishes (not to mention a great view of the Rockville environs out the windows!), but the artwork enhanced the overall feel of the space, making each office warm and inviting.  GXS hosted a “preview party” for their staff this afternoon so they could see the office before the “big move” this weekend.  We hope they enjoy their artwork!

Washington Post – Local Artist Jim Sanborn

28 Aug

Artists Circle has been working with artist Jim Sanborn on a project in collaboration with The JBG Companies since 2006.  Selected amongst a pool of artists, Jim created an intriguing concept for JBG’s White Flint project: a perforated cylinder will cast shadows of text commemorating the history of White Flint (to those of you who are familiar with the area, yes, there is actually a thread of curious historical significance to the site).  Last weekend, Jim was featured in The Washington Post for a new installation called “Terrestrial Physics”.  Perhaps we should have Jim and Robert Buelteman, who will have a show at Artists Circle in the Fall, meet for a cup of coffee to talk about their shared interest in the sciences and mad scientist-esque ways of exploring artwork!  For the full Washington Post story by Blake Gopnik.>

An existing installation of Jim's perforated columns.  The piece at White Flint will be similar, but will feature text significant to the history of the site.

An existing installation of Jim's perforated columns. The piece at White Flint will be similar, but will feature text significant to the history of the site.

Jim's model for the White Flint project.  In addition to the cylinder, inlaid text will be placed in the ground and several other perforated metal sheets will line the walkway.

Jim's model for the White Flint project. In addition to the cylinder, inlaid text will be placed in the ground and several other perforated metal sheets will line the walkway.