Washington Glass School Inaugurates Glass and Steel Sculpture at New Laurel Library

By Michael Janis on November 28, 2016
Washington Glass Studio sculpture at the new Laurel Library.
Washington Glass Studio sculpture at the new Laurel Library. Photo by Pete Duvall.

The Washington Glass Studio (WGS) recently completed installation of a community-based site specific public art commission for the Maryland’s new Prince George’s County Laurel Library. The new building was designed by Grimm + Parker Architects, with the grand opening of the new library scheduled for November 28, 2016. Features of the spectacular new library include an inset floor area in the children’s section where kids will get to peer at a replica velociraptor skeleton through the glass floor. Just a few miles away from the library site is Dinosaur Park, where scientists work to excavate fossils from the early Cretaceous period. Dinosaur imagery was also included as a theme running through the glass artwork panels.

WGS design proposal sketch
WGS design proposal sketch.

WGS was awarded the commission to make the outdoor sculpture at the front of the new library by Maryland’s Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council (PGAHC). The Art in Public Places Program RFQ sought artwork that would provide world class artwork for Prince George’s County residents and visitors. 

WGS proposal for the project was a 17 foot-high, internally illuminated glass and steel sculpture that incorporates glass panels made by residents and stakeholders of the Laurel, MD community. The engineering of the steel framework involved detailed analysis of the structure and its components. WGS worked with structural engineer Holbert Apple to ensure the integrity of the design.

Over 100 glass inset panels were made during the series of workshops held at the Washington Glass School.

A series of community glass quilting bees were held at the Washington Glass School for the library during the summer.
A series of community glass quilting bees were held at the Washington Glass School for the library during the summer. Photo by Lisa Philip/Baltimore Sun

The artwork’s title “Involve Me and I Learn”  is based on a phrase attributed to US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (who also opened the first US public library). The name references the engagement of the community. The neighborhood and the Laurel Library supporters had joined in making the individual glass panels in workshops at the Washington Glass School.

The resulting variations in each tile’s imagery and technique embody the artist’s concept in bringing the people from the diverse community together to create a cohesive and vibrant sculpture. 

washingtonglassstudio_laurel-library
Photo by Pete Duvall

The artwork’s internally illuminated kiln-formed glass panels express the personality and the individuality of everyone involved in the project.

Project  Information

Artist: Washington Glass Studio 

Design Team: Laurie Brown, Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Audrey Wilson. With Josh Hershman and Pierre Browning.

Structural Engineer : Holbert Apple Assoc Inc 

WGS_Laurel Library.MD.aipp.washington_glass_studio.public_art.sculpture.site.specific.sustainable.design.usa.jpg
Photo by Pete Duvall

 

Laurel Library
507 7th Street, Laurel, MD 20707

The new Laurel Library also features public art by Martha Jackson Jarvis.