Friday, June 10, 2016

Public Art in the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum

There's a lot to see at the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum, including both familiar and brand new public art. Nimbus, newly repainted and brilliant green against the dark purple of the building, is glorious and unapologetic in the courtyard. Just inside the doors, the giant map of Alaska, Canada, and Russia inlaid into the terrazzo floor immediately grabs your attention, as does the towering eagle tree exhibit.
Nimbus, the sculpture people love to hate, returns to its place of honor in front of the building.

Walter Gordinier's cast glass pieces are interspersed throughout the interior of the building and outside on the grounds, which is just the way Gordinier likes it. "The art needs to move in concert with the structure, from out to in, from floor to wall, from seating to glass and back again," he writes in his artist statement. He created three interior pieces, Trilogy, the large glass columns in the front of the Library's Reading Room, Glacial Pond in the atrium, and Story Bars, which adorn the glass banisters along the second floor and the mezzanine. Outside, Gordinier's work is visible in Pivot Plaza and near the walkways. They accent the plaza and provide a backdrop for the outdoor venue, which will kick things off with dance parties every Friday this summer.
The center pillar of Trilogy, back lit by the sun coming in the windows.
Glacial Pond floats between the first and second floors.
A close-up of Glacial Pond shows the different colors, textures, and layers.
Each of the Story Bars is unique. Some let in lots of light and others are nearly opaque.
A section of Pivot Plaza including Scrims, Passages, and one of the Axis Discs.

Many visitors have already enjoyed woodworker and former Juneauite Martin Shelton's contribution to the building, possibly without even realizing it. His Inside Passage benches are all different, just like the trees out of which they are made. "One of the things I strive for as an artist is to make my furniture both approachable and functional, this includes making it inviting both to the eye and the body," Shelton stated.
Shelton's benches line the atrium, providing visitors with a place to enjoy the view and rest their legs.
The benches incorporate the natural features of the wood, like this split that goes straight through the bench.

In the library area on the second floor, Ketchikan artist Evon Zerbetz's massive glass mural, We Are Written in the Layers of the Earth, provides a stunning dividing wall between the Richard Foster Reading Room and the Research Center. The mural features three human "mark makers" along with numerous Alaskan plants and animals. Zerbetz created the design using one-fifth sized linocuts, then worked with German company Derix Glasstudio to fabricate the piece and add the colors and textures.
From the Research Center, daylight from the windows along the front of the building makes the mural glow.
On the Reading Room side, the images continue down onto the wood panels below.
All of the public art in the APK State Library, Archives, and Museum is meant to make our new space welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable for our visitors. We are constantly finding new things to love about our building and we hope you will too.

The three installations featured in this post were selected by the the SLAM project Percent for Art advisory committee. Since the Percent for Art law was passed in 1975, Alaska has employed artists and benefited from the cultural, social, and economic value of public art. The program is overseen by the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

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