The Ridgedale Hennepin County Library hired Forecast’s Consulting and Creative Services team to facilitate development of permanent public artworks for their remodeled space. After renovation, the library reopened on September 24, 2018, complete with Bebe Keith’s colorful hanging glass panel design, Compelling the Soul to Look Upward.
When Keith visited the library prior to her project’s approval, she saw the giant wall of east-facing windows and thought, “How cool would it be to visually depict the sun’s position throughout the year!” Inspired, the artist’s detailed proposal included this quote from the late astronomer, Carl Sagan:
“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.
Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us—there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice,
a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, or falling from a height.
We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”
The finished installation, fabricated by Peters Studio, creates an alternative observatory space. The piece includes twelve panels of glass, featuring colors and patterns of the seasons, each representing a month of the year (varying numbers of circles in the lower right suggest which month). On the floor, a plaque directs viewers to stand and face the large, east-facing windows. Viewing the work from this angle, the glass panels show where the sun rises on the horizon on the 21st of each month. Viewers can trace a path from June (on the left), through the top panels all the way to December (on the right), then through the bottom panels back to June. When the sun streams in, colorful shadows trace along the floor and walls. At night, when there is no light coming in the windows, the interior lights emphasize the metallic leafing used throughout the work.
Do you need help making a public art project happen? Learn more about our Consulting and Creative Services: www.forecastpublicart.org/consulting