The ongoing Gaines Street renovation project has brought vast improvements to this area. As the Gaines Street corridor transforms into a well lit, well landscaped, pedestrian friendly street, new businesses are opening and we’re seeing this area become a more vibrant arts destination district.
One of the significant changes is the addition of a roundabout at the intersection of Woodward Ave. and Gaines St. Master Craftsman Studio proposed the addition of a large scale sculpture as the centerpiece of both the roundabout and the renovation project. MCS Director, Kenneth F. von Roenn, Jr. presented a full color mock up as well as a scale model to the city commissioners who unanimously approved.
The sculpture will be twenty feet high, by eighteen feet wide at the widest point. Constructed of stainless steel, with a grid of stainless steel cable. Individual panels of laminated dichroic will be set within the grid. As you move around the sculpture, the colors shift and change during the day. At night, the piece will be enhanced by a beam of LED light. Some see it as an abstract depiction of a spear.
The designer, Kenn von Roenn has titled this work “Declaration” and explains the piece as “the exclamation mark on the statement of what Gaines Street is all about. “This work will become a piece that adds to our cities identity as well as our campus community.
In an article found in the Tallahassee Democrat written by TaMaryn Waters, the sculpture and what the community is hoping to gain from the public art is further discussed.
“Gaines Street’s face-lift from a blighted district to a vibrant mix of restaurants, apartments and funky shops will be punctuated by the mother of all exclamation points.”
Waters continues, “It had to embody several traits right off: capture the energy of Gaines Street; be tall enough to be seen from a distance; remain open at the base so as not to obstruct driver vision; change in appearance within the roundabout; have two “readings” with a day and night stature; and showcase an affiliation with FSU without being a literal tie.”
Further, “Amanda Thompson, interim director for the Council on Culture & Art, called von Roenn a “rock star” in the art industry.” He has some of the most important sculptures in the country and he also has sculptures outside the country,” she said. “Having him here heading up the Master Craftsman Studio is a boon for Tallahassee and FSU.”
Continue reading “Gaines Street roundabout to get startling sculpture” by TaMaryn Waters.
Kenneth von Roenn Jr. ran Architectural Glass Art Inc. and its staff of 30 for more than two decades. The renowned glass artist joined Florida State on July 1 to fill two important seats, director of the Master Craftsman Studio and associate director of the new Public Art/Architectural Art Program.
A native of Louisville, von Roenn attended Florida State on a full athletic scholarship in springboard and platform diving, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1970. He merged his loves — diving and glass art — in the 1980s, earning a master’s in architecture from Yale University in 1981 and setting two world records in diving.
Von Roenn’s resume is peppered with experience in academia. He taught architectural art courses at the University of Kentucky School of Architecture in the ’70s, and was director of the Swain School of Design’s Architectural Art Department in New Bedford, Mass., in the late ’80s.
Master Craftsman Studio is a unique university auxiliary under the College of Fine Arts. We specialize in realizing the institutions’ creative desires for its campus. As an in-house studio to the school, we work with a wide variety of university entities such as maintenance, grounds, planning, design, public relations, athletics and academics. We are a self-subsidizing auxiliary of the university which means we generate our own funding. Students see a working professional studio and are exposed to the inner business workings from estimates and ideas, to installation and invoices. This format allows us great opportunities to demonstrate to students the confluence of creativity and entrepreneurship. This practice helps students see that their creativity is a powerful tool that can solve any problem.