Friday, January 8, 2010

Art in Public Places

The Prince George's County Council passed legislation in 1988 that requires one percent of the construction cost for new buildings and major renovations of county government buildings be used for the acquisition and installation of artwork. The legislation established the Art in Public Places Program. A seven member panel oversees the program, and a project advisory committee is established for each project.

The Arts in Public Places Panel and a project advisory committee began a search last October for an artist to create a 12' x 18' piece for the future South Bowie Branch Library. One-hundred forty-seven applications were received, and three finalists have been selected.
A community input meeting will be held at the South Bowie Community Center on Tuesday, January 19th. Members of the public will be able to learn about the project, meet the finalists and provide the artists with information about the community. Opinions are welcome. Attendees must RSVP by Friday, January 15th.

The three artists will create designs for the project, and one of the designs will be selected in March.

The Prince George's County Arts in Public Places Panel commissioned a stained glass and tile mirror mosaic for the recently opened Northview Fire Station in Bowie. Cheryl Foster , a D.C. resident, was the lead artist for the project. Foster designed and oversaw the installation of the mural.

The mosaic can be seen at the front of the Northview Fire Station (at the corner of Northview Drive and Health Center Drive). The diversity of Bowie residents is captured in the faces of the firefighters, and the background is filled with historic references and reflections of modern day life in Bowie.

Bowie Station opened in 1872 in what is now called the Huntington Section of Bowie (also known as Old Bowie). The railroad station was constructed at the intersection of a Baltimore/D.C. line and the Pope's Creek line to Southern Maryland.

Bowie Station has been relocated only yards away from its original location, and it has been preserved as the Bowie Train Station Museum.

The Belair Stud and Stable. Two Triple Crown winners (father and son Gallant Fox and Omaha) called the stable home, as did Nashua, the first horse to be sold for more than $1 million. The stable is now a museum operated by the City of Bowie.

This is either Gallant Fox or Omaha. It's hard to tell. They look so much alike, and they're both represented on the mural.

Skating at the City of Bowie Ice Arena at Allen Pond Park.

The City of Bowie Dog Park.

Bowie fourth-grader Hayley Yeager is depicted in the mosaic. According to a recent Bowie Blade article, Foster had an artistic connection with Yeager.

Plaque on display at the fire station. Several people from the Bowie Senior Center assisted with the installation of the glass tiles.

Cheryl Foster created other public pieces in the D.C. area, including this mosaic at National Harbor. Other work from Foster can be seen on her Web site.

Another Foster piece at National Harbor.


  1. Oh, man. Lovely mural, but that plaque hurt's my head.

  2. Gorgeous!

    In an era of reduced budgets, I'm amazed that public art still takes a priority (even if it is only 1%, that can be quite significant!)

  3. Abbot, Wow, I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't catch that.

    L.A., yeah, $135,000 for the $13.5 million library project seems like quite a bit.