Boone County Courthouse Central Dairy The Varsity Building (The Blue Note)
Joel Sager, 2013, Mixed media collage and tar
Columbia City Hall interior, fifth floor, main elevator lobby
Joel Sager’s paintings, commissioned for the fifth floor of City Hall, celebrate the architecture of three prominent Columbia buildings whose depictions represent a unique facet of the city’s history and vitality.
The quintessentially art deco Central Dairy building, named for the well-known establishment it formerly housed, signifies commerce. Meanwhile, the Boone County Courthouse, with its grandiose presence and doric columns, is a prime example of classical architecture and represents the judicial within Columbia’s thematic narrative. Finally, the Varsity Building embodies culture, having been the home of the beloved music venue and cultural juggernaut, the Blue Note, for more than three decades.
Joel Sager is an American painter and native Missourian. He works in mixed media including oil pigment, wax, roofing tar and collage. His works often encompass traditional and representational subjects, with influences ranging from mannerism to folk art. For these paintings, a highly textural process involving the collage of hand-cut paper, impasto (thickly applied paint) and roofing tar was employed to hearken the physicality of the city’s architecture itself.
View the video about the creation of Sager’s artwork below.
CommuniTea I & II
Norleen Nosri, 2013, Earthenware and Porcelain Ceramics
Columbia City Hall interior, fourth floor, main elevator lobby and west hallway
The ceramic works CommuniTea I & II are inspired by the diversity of Columbia. The serving, drinking vessels and bases represent many people coming together and sharing. The compositions symbolize giving and receiving, which in turn, portrays the main theme of the work, a communal sense of gratitude – gratitude for being a part of a whole, a community. The act of giving and receiving for the community brings diverse threads of people together. The element of duality exists throughout the compositions conveying unity through differences. This sharing is steeped in the human desire to protect and to be protected. Individuals offer something distinctive to belong to a group. This belonging in turn strengthens the whole as the united group fosters a supportive community. Issues of individual worth and hierarchy can be put aside in this moment of sharing. This giving of the individual and the collective is a natural aspect of social bonding, bound by a belief in the common good.
Nosri’s minimalist aesthetic reflects the idea of community and unification of its many parts. Her work strives to impart a sense of quietude, a state of intentional awareness, and a reflective pause to celebrate life, to understand how we can balance one another. To discover that in the process of seeking truth and learning it is the many individual qualities and differences that come together.
View the video about the creation of Nosri’s artwork below.
Chris Morrey*, 2012, bronze
Columbia City Hall interior, third floor, main elevator lobby
Chris Morrey’s sculptures on the third floor of city hall shift the viewer’s perspective, literally and metaphorically. The intricate figures of dogs, cast in bronze using a variety of ornamental forms, bring an unexpected playfulness to an otherwise businesslike environment. Visitors who follow the dogs’ gaze will discover a bird tucked into the ceiling recess. This message, noticing where the attention of the others is focused, is key to Morrey’s installation, as is demonstrating the connection of human beings to nature. The sculptures were commissioned as part of a Percent for Art project which supports the placement of works by local artists throughout the interior of the new city hall.* local artist
Lampo Leong*, 2011, acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
Columbia City Hall, interior, second floor, main elevator lobby.
Visitors to the second floor of city hall, which houses the offices of the mayor, city council and city manager, are greeted by three mixed media paintings in the lobby areas. Columbia artist Lampo Leong has layered cursive Chinese calligraphy and aerial photography in his works to emphasize the forces of nature. The incorporation of language, landscape photography and images from outer space are intended to communicate the transient nature of time in a contemporary society. Leong’s work is the first in a series of commissions to mid-Missouri artists for Percent for Art projects in the new city hall.
View the video about the creation of Contemplation Forces below.
Greg Orloff, 2012, found object assemblage sculpture
Columbia City Hall, interior, main floor lobby
Commissioned by Ragtag Cinema, gifted to City of Columbia in 2013
Lumen is a robot sculpture made of found objects, which was commissioned by Ragtag Cinema, a non-profit organization that champions independent films in Columbia. With the end of 35mm film production in Hollywood comes the era of mandatory digital projection. It is a moment that prompted Ragtag Cinema to address whether it should convert its traditional film projectors to digital, or ultimately be forced to limit releases to films produced with older technology. To garner support for the new projectors, Lumen became the central icon in the cinema’s fundraising campaign, “Ragtag Needs Robots.” In just over a month, the theater successfully raised the funding required to convert to all-digital projectors.
Lumen’s purpose represents more than that of a mascot; it embodies the cumulative efforts of an entire community with differing backgrounds, experiences, educations, perspectives and lifestyles. Made up of the dirty, broken-down discards of obsolete, forgotten technologies, Lumen stands as a shining beacon of Columbia’s endeavors and successes—there is hope, no matter what the odds are, as long as you have community. – Greg Orloff
Keys to the City
Howard Meehan, 2010, digitally enhanced photography in laminated glass, powder-coated steel frame, and LED lighting.
Columbia City Hall Plaza
Completed in May 2010, the Keys to the City sculpture is the biggest Percent for Art project undertaken by the city to date. This large-scale sculpture commemorates Columbia’s history and includes imagery of local landmarks, and notables like Mary Paxton Keeley and John William “Blind” Boone, set against a backdrop of local historical maps. They keyhole-shaped sculpture serves as a main portal to city hall. Its design and placement are essential to the artist’s intended metaphor, that an active and involved citizenry is the key to a prospering community.