The City of Lawrence

Site Specific Sculpture for the City of Lawrence
2010 - Awarded Proposal

Proposed and awarded sculpture for the City of Lawrence.  This sculpture, located at the intersection of Pendleton Pike and 56th Street, will be the first of three major works Lawrence will place around their city.  The city itself is in the midst of a fantastic redevelopment, having recently been gifted back a large portion of land and buildings formerly known as Fort Benjamin (Ben).

March 9, 2010

Part of what makes public artwork successful is its ability to relate and connect to those that come in contact with it.  With this piece I intend to create a true collaboration with the City of Lawrence and its residents.  The final product is a work that is as much about momentary glimpses of positive messages as it is about projecting the environment that the City of Lawrence is working to create: a healthy, nurturing, positive, productive, and green community.

The words that are exhibited in the model are the result of a trial poll/survey of roughly 25 individuals located across the United States and a few in other countries.  An email was sent to these individuals with a list of four-letter words.  These words were selected from a complete list of four letter words from the English language. The criteria for choosing the words was whether or not they have the potential to represent the visions of the City of Lawrence and the words have to represent an action.  Recipients were asked to study the list and select four to eight words that felt the most powerful to them.  The words that ranked the highest were – GROW, LOVE, SOAR and DARE. 

I would like to issue the same poll publicly in Lawrence in order to fully encapsulate the visions of the city and its occupants.  Using email, public media resources, and face-to-face methods I would ask for the community’s input and after a designated period would compile the data in the same manner as my trial survey.  I have attached a rough mock-up of the survey to be distributed.


As the project is currently being reviewed by an engineer I am unable to give a finite list of materials.  However, currently the construction is as follows:


Each letter combination is 6’ tall and will be positioned at angles that provide maximum visibility by oncoming traffic.  The letters themselves will be composed of aluminum plate.  Whether or not the letters will appear as solid versus having the interior exposed has yet to be determined.  The surface of the sculptures will not be painted, exposing the bare aluminum and requiring little to no maintenance.  The base consists of a 4’ wide by 4’ long by 3’ deep concrete footing, which will be positioned just below the ground surface.  Each letter combination will float approximately 12 to 18 inches above the ground surface.  The maximum weight of each letter combination is 450 pounds. 


  An alternate approach to representing the work is currently being explored.  This method would incorporate wind motivated rotation of each letter combination.  My interest in this stems from the potential deconstruction and reconstruction of the words, lending an aspect of ambiguity to the viewer.  Another element to this approach is its allusion to constant movement that is natural and energetic: key qualities the City of Lawrence is identified as having. 



The City of Lawrence and artist Ava Larkin

want to hear from you!

Please circle/choose up to EIGHT of the following words that speak to you.  The choices you make can be instinctual, personal, a message for others, a vision for the city, or anything that strikes your fancy.  The artist desires to create a work that embodies the hearts and minds of the community, so Speak Up Lawrence!

Email your responses to (TBD) or mail to (TBD).  Deadline for receipt is (TBD).

Bike      Bond     Calm     care     dare     draw     earn     emit     face

Feed     feel     fill     flow     free     fuel     gain     gaze     give     glow

Grow     heal     hear     help     hike     hold     hone     hope     join

Joke     jump     know     laze     lead     leap     lift     live     look     love

Make     meet     mend     muse     need     open     peek     peer     play

Push     read     reap     rest     rise     seek     sing     skip     soar     swim

Toss     trek     walk     wish     work     zoom