12/14/2009 - Children's Dance Foundation public sculpture designed by Jane Timberlake Cooper
Children’s Dance Foundation’s Sculpture is Named
December 14, 2009; Birmingham, AL – On Sunday, donors and friends joined
together to celebrate and name Children’s Dance Foundation’s (CDF)
recently-installed colorful sculpture by Jane Timberlake Cooper. Larry
Thompson’s suggested name Chroma Curve was chosen by Cooper.
CDF solicited suggestions from the community when the art piece was
installed to the outside of their Community Arts Center in October. More
than 225 names were suggested at CDF and on the Internet. CDF staff and
board narrowed the list, and Cooper made the final selection Sunday.
With eight colors and 81 pieces spanning three sides of the building, the
artwork is designed to invite passers-by and visitors to know Children’s
Executive Director Diane Litsey stated, “Jane’s artwork is a fun, visual
taste of the energy and vibrancy of our programs which take place in our
facility and at program partner sites all over Birmingham. We are thrilled
to see the design take shape, and thank Betty and John McMahon with the
Pleiad Foundation, David McMahon, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts
for their generosity to make the project a reality. ”
Board member and architect Jeremy Erdreich said, "Jane was able to
synthesize CDF's mission into a work of art that beautifully expresses the
soul of the organization. Her piece also manages to instantly "brand" the
building, making the unmemorable, memorable, and the un-findable, easy to
find. Her art should inspire not only the users and staff of CDF, but the
greater community as well."
The piece is an example of large-scale, public art--a type of art that is
too rare in Birmingham. Since it’s installation, several have stopped in or
emailed just to compliment the piece! A passerby shared in an email to
Litsey, “I drove past CDF yesterday, and was so happy to see swirling
colors! My 3.5-yr-old son, Calvin, was with me and said – completely
unprompted, ‘Look, mama! That is so fun!’ My compliments to the artist.”
Erdreich spearheaded the project, which was born from a design charrette
facilitated by Amanda Moore with GIATTINA AYCOCK ARCHITECTURE STUDIO funded
by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. From those design
discussions with local architects and visual artists, it was recommended to
commission a sculpture for the outside of the building.
CDF had a particular design challenge: while located in a very busy,
well-traveled part of downtown Homewood, the utilitarian, gray metal-clad
boxy building faded into the background. Visitors would get frustrated
trying to locate it. And the organization needed an exterior that would help
communicate their mission.
After putting together a conceptual design charrette, it became clear that
the most practical, affordable, and effective option would be applying a new
design layer onto the existing façade. Jane Timberlake Cooper, a Birmingham
artist trained at Rhode Island School of Design and in New York, was
selected to design this layer. Cooper is known for her bold use of color and
form, and her ability to merge the mundane and the highly intellectual into
a fresh vision.
Cooper's piece is a flowing collection of colored metal shapes that
literally wrap the building, instantly giving it an identity it's always
lacked. Her piece alludes to dance, movement, creativity, and freedom,
without being literal about any of these aspects. It's a great example of
how abstract art can be nuanced and very powerful at once.
Lloyd Cooper and PUSH Product Design provided expertise for fabrication and
installation, and Skidmore Signs painted and installed the sculpture.
CDF purchased and renovated its building in 2002 and moved into it in April
2003, expanding programs which now host an average of 2,000 people in its
facility each week and reach 1,000 more children each week in preschools,
elementary schools, social service agencies throughout Birmingham.
CDF is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1975 by Jennie Robertson,
Virginia Samford Donovan and Mary Conyers Cooper. CDF's mission is to
provide comprehensive dance education to all, enriching the spirit,
enlivening the imagination and celebrating community. CDF’s teams of
teaching artists provide weekly participatory dance classes to more than
1,000 typical, at-risk and special needs children at 25 sites throughout
Birmingham. In addition, CDF contracts training programs for educators; has
student and staff performances for the community; has a long-standing
commitment to offer studio space for artists who need a space to work and
call ‘home;’ and a studio program that offers creative movement, ballet,
jazz, modern, special needs, parent/child, just for boys and adult classes.
To learn more about CDF, call 205/870-0073 or visit
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