New Public Art Project urges acceptance of seemingly disparate thoughts in a way that leads to tolerance and innovation
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 4:00pm
― Paulo Coelho
"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.”
― Margaret Heffernan
During a dedication ceremony on Saturday, June 1 at 3:30 pm, the public is invited to join the Madison Arts Commission in celebration of a new public artwork in the 700/800 block of State Street, where State Street intersects with East Campus Mall and Library Mall. Artist Team David Dahlquist and Matt Niebuhr of RDG Dahlquist Studios created, Both/And – Tolerance/Innovation to represent what they describe as “a space between knowing and believing.”
The title, Both/And—Tolerance/Innovation, speaks to the confluence of ideas and cultural diversity coming together in a way that encourages a new consciousness to arise from the river of people who intersect in Madison. The artists explain, "Both/And is an acceptance of seemingly disparate thoughts, coming together in a way that fosters the tolerance that leads to innovation.” The sculpture itself rests on an island where the City of Madison connects with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The space of that dynamic confluence creates an eddy of people. Such eddies, claim the artists, are the spaces where transformation can occur.
To develop this project, Niebuhr and Dahlquist, who is an alumnus of UW Madison, spent time observing the area. In their proposal Dahlquist stated, “Matt and I have spent a lot of time walking this site, photographing it from every perspective. We climbed to the top of the Humanities Building to see, in a bird’s eye view, the steady stream of students coming and going from classes, meeting people on their way up and down State Street. It is an unending ‘flow’ that rises and falls, people meeting people each day, a new beginning each year. This ‘current’ is a tangible energy that fills this special place. For me, personally, I have moved through this corridor for over 40 years. I have felt this energy in many ways and carry it with me still.”
The sculpture is comprised of a large stone leaning in to a vertical stainless-steel sculpture, laser-cut with patterns that allow light to move between the plates. A bright yellow cylinder cuts through the plates in such a way that on the vernal and autumnal equinox sunlight will stream through the sculpture illuminating the path below. LED lighting of the sculpture will transform it as it shifts from playing with light and shadow by day into a glowing beacon at night.
City staff who worked on the State Street redesign project over many years advocated for public art to be included in defining this important place along State Street. “Knowing how important art was going to be in animating State Street, we required that an artist be part of the design team from the projects conception through construction,” said Bill Fruhling, principal planner for the City of Madison. “We couldn’t be happier with the result.”
Nan Fey, the new Interim Director of Planning and Community and Economic Development said, "It is fitting that "Both/And - Tolerance/Innovation" is the first major public art project to be completed while I am serving as interim director of the City’s Planning, Community & Economic Development. Perhaps it will be the talisman of my tenure, as it represents my core values of treasuring both nature and people." She added, "The artists' use of raw stone with a stainless-steel vertical beacon offers us a strong visual metaphor for how the built environment can and should harmonize with our natural environment.”
The public is invited to celebrate the completion of this public art project at a dedication on Saturday, June 1st at 3:30 pm at the sculpture (in the event of rain please meet in the Chazen lobby). Please allow extra time for travel/parking and note that busses will be rerouted from State Street on June 1 due to the “Cars on State Classic Car Show.”
Later in the day, there is also going to be a live 45-minute jazz performance by Hallpassgolfband at the site of the sculpture. The jazz concert will take place at the sculpture at 7:30 pm until just before sunset. That concert will lead into Resonance Madison, an interactive arts performance taking place at the Memorial Union.
Both/And – Tolerance/Innovation was supported with funds from the State Street Reconstruction Project and the Madison Arts Commission. The dedication celebration is supported by the Downtown Business Improvement District. Hallpassgolfband’s Jazz performance is supported by placemaking funds from the City of Madison.
The Madison Arts Commission is a municipal commission that funds artistic activities and initiates cultural programs that integrate, support, and advance arts and culture as an essential part of life in Madison.