Part II of an on-going series
by Kirby LindsayDevelopers of new building projects in Fremont have incorporated art into the design, but few did as much for art as the EpiCenter building (3401 Fremont Avenue North.) Here the developers installed several smaller works, giving several artists opportunities and the neighborhood a building abounding it art.
The property developers had hired local artist Rodman Miller as an art consultant, after some cajoling. According to Miller, the public call for an advisor went unanswered. Yet local advisors recommended Miller, a Fremont Arts Council board member with several public art pieces installed around the country, so the developers directly asked him. He explained that he wouldn’t take the job because “I wanted to get art on that building,” he recalled, “and it would be a conflict of interest.” The developers instead wrote a contract that allowed him to submit his own designs along with the other artists – and gained a diverse, creative and visually interesting art collection.
Completed: 2004 Created by Anna Sher (metal work) and Rodman Miller (blown-glass flowers) and located on the corner of Fremont Avenue and 34th Street at Peet’s. According to Miller, this piece has no official title. It does, however, have a plaque that lists the date and names of the artists, as do most of the pieces on Epi – if you look long enough. This one was installed on the lower rail of the fence, on the section that is the short leg of the “L” shaped railing.
Completed: 2004 Created by Mark A. Stevens Since it’s installation, this piece has become a major visual landmark. One feature many overlook is that the central piece swirls up one tower of the building, but many smaller detail pieces have been installed near it and within the structure. The name of the piece translates, in Thai, to “jewelry of heaven,” and is, according to some reports, named after the artist’s wife.
The Blue Plate Special
Completed: 2004 Created by Rodman Miller Usually referred to as ‘the finials on Epi,’ these pieces of colorful blown glass extend from fabricated steel designed by Miller, and built for him by Anna Sher. “People who notice it love it,” he said of the whimsical piece, installed on the second floor, southwest corner of Epi, “but many people don’t look up.”
Gods Of Fremont – Saturn, Mercury, Venus, Neptune, Sun and Moon
Completed: 2004 Artist: Alexei Kazantsev In promotional materials distributed when Epi first opened, the building was named “Mars,” which might be one reason for the inclusion of these painted concrete relief compositions. The six individual pieces hang on the “back” side of Epi, in the alley, surrounding the entry to the building’s parking garage.
The distinction of ‘public art’ can sometimes be difficult to define. In front of the PCC Natural Market - Fremont, above the patio, are several finials – symbols in profile. These symbols have been used by PCC in much of its marketing materials. Inside, the store contains many more art pieces – created by local artists – including mobiles, paintings and metal work in the floor.
Painted tiles hang along the inner wall of the outside patio – created by students from B.F. Day Elementary School, according to Store Manager Raymond Glandon. He recently estimated that the tiles were done in 2000, as part of a sustainability project, for the previous Fremont PCC location. In addition to those currently on display, PCC has approximately 20 – 30 more tiles stored in the back to replace those that fall or disappear from the wall.
Art abounds at EpiCenter – and all over Fremont. Stay tuned for further issues of this on-going inventory. If an art work has been overlooked, or you have details to disclose on one yet to be counted, please contact the Fremocentrist instigator for inclusion in a future installment!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.