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The Sculpture Garden at the National Business Park

18 Oct

Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), a real estate development trust that focuses on government and defense tenants, is a company that is truly dedicated to integrating fantastic art into their development projects. At their brand-new National Business Park in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, COPT has decided to go the extra mile and make the courtyard nestled between three modern office buildings into a dedicated sculpture garden. With modern lighting and seating scattered throughout the green space and under the trees and pathways that carry you past the sculpture on your way from building to building, the area provides a great location for employees of the buildings’ tenants to relax and enjoy some sculpture.

Ally II

"Ally II" by Bruce Beasley in cast bronze

Entering the sculpture garden at Clark Commons from the National Business Parkway, immediately on your left is Ally II by California sculptor Bruce Beasley. Beasely’s abstract forms in cast bronze resemble three-dimensional cubist forms carved from stone, with the irregular patina contributing to the strong earthy feel of his work. Ally II had been in COPT’s collection prior to Artists Circle’s involvement in the project, but we worked with local artist and metalworker David Hess to build an installation system for the sculpture. After coordinating the transport of the sculpture from Hess’ studio in Baltimore County to the sculpture garden, the AO crew installed the sculpture on a concrete pedestal, a tricky install as the landscaping had already been completed, disallowing the use of heavy equipment to move and lift the bronze sculpture. We think the piece is situated perfectly to draw the visitor into the garden from the road, and its modern form and earthy aesthetics introduce the viewer to the garden’s high-tech but organic style.

Will Robinson

"The Patience of Penelope" by Will Robinson in carved basalt

At the opposite end of the sculpture garden and directly in front of the site that will become the central building of the Clark Commons complex is a grouping of three sculptures in stone by Washington State artist Will Robinson, Eyes of the Storm, Patience of Penelope and Wave Runner, which also doubles as seating. Swirls and swooping curves often contrast smooth, highly-polished surfaces with rough, unfinished textures show us how Will transforms the untamed, rough and wild rock into something softer and more elegant. Artists Circle coordinated the sale of the pieces, and Will transported them himself from the Pacific Northwest to install them at the sculpture garden. We think these pieces emphasize the elements of nature in the sculpture garden and the contrast of those elements with the contemporary architecture that envelops them.

The centerpiece of the garden is Brad Howe’s Lever the Sun, a 21-foot sculpture in stainless steel that COPT commissioned through Artists Circle for the project. Read more about the commission, construction and installation of this monumental sculpture in our blog post here.

Clark Commons NBP Sculpture Garden

Stone sculpture by Will Robinson with "Lever the Sun" by Brad Howe in background

COPT has created a beautiful space that includes a fantastic sculpture collection. It was a great opportunity to work with a great group of artists, installers and professionals and we couldn’t be more proud of all of the work we put into helping COPT create their wonderful sculpture garden.


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.

Federation of American Hospitals

3 Sep

Yesterday’s installation of a 12′ long photograph of Washington by local photographer Sam Kittner was a success!  Artists Circle coordinated with our framer and one of our installers to have the canvas print stretched on-site.  After assessing the [very small] elevators and determining the stairs were just too tight to carry such a large piece up, we decided the only way to accomplish the Federation of American Hospital’s need for such a monumental piece would be to stretch it in their office.  The photo, taken from the rooftop of 101 Constitution Avenue, makes quite the statement upon walking into the SKB designed space.

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

Discovery Mural

23 Jul

OK, so this is admittedly an “oldie but goodie” project that a few of our interns recently re-photographed.  Though installed almost seven years ago, this mural – created by Mexican artist Narcissus Quagliata –  still maintains a current, relevant impact.  If you happen to be in the Silver Spring area, be sure to swing by Discovery Communications’ headquarters (currently adorned by a large inflatable shark in celebration of Shark Week) to check out the mural for yourself!  To this day the project remains one of Artists Circle’s most memorable ones.

OPX – Success Through Design (and Art, of Course!)

14 Apr

Artists Circle Fine Art recently collaborated with DC architecture and design firm OPX to establish a rotating artwork program in their office.  The current exhibition features works by several DC artists, including Francie Hester and Matthew Langley.

Bond (not James) 45

3 Mar

Artists Circle Fine Art recently wrapped up a project for The Peterson Companies.  We were glad to be back at National Harbor doing work with their team.  What a great group to work with!  A new restaurant called Bond 45 just opened and Peterson enlisted Artists Circle to assist with the installation of several hundred pieces of artwork.  The art, including two large marble sculptures, was supplied by the restaurant owners.

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.

Society for Neuroscience

19 Aug

We were finally able to snap some installation shots of a piece we framed and installed in Society for Neuroscience’s (SfN) 14th Street building several months ago.  The artist, Greg Dunn, is currently working on a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania.  His selection as the artist for SfN’s lobby could not have been more fitting!  SfN wanted a piece of artwork that would reflect their ownership and occupancy of the building, but that wasn’t so obviously about neuroscience that other building tenants wouldn’t be able to appreciate it.

From Greg’s website:
“I enjoy Asian art. I particularly love minimalist scroll and screen painting from the Edo period in Japan. I am also a fan of neuroscience. Therefore, it was a fine day when two of my passions came together upon the realization that the elegant forms of neurons (the cells that comprise your brain) can be painted expressively in the Asian sumi-e style. Neurons may be tiny in scale, but they possess the same beauty seen in traditional forms of the medium (trees, flowers, and animals).”