Just Add Water & They Will Come
Sacramento City Services Complex, Meadowview Rd., Sacramento, CA

materials: cast concrete
commissioned by: Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, 2000
created with: Art Students from Luther Burbank High School
building architect: Kristopher Barkley. AIA. Drefus & Blackford Architects
special thanks to: Dr. Peter B. Moyle, Department of Wildlife, Fish and
Conservation Biology, UC Davis
photo credit: Troy Corliss

In 2000 I was selected by the City of Sacramento to create an entry sculpture for a new city services building. During this project I worked in collaboration with a group of art students from Luther Burbank High School to create a sculpture that focuses on the fall-run Chinook salmon of Northern California. This piece is a freestanding sculpture consisting of ten tablets cast in concrete. Each freestanding tablet displays a full size salmon, which I cast directly from real fish and the relief drawings that have been designed by each of the students. The overall effect from eye level appears as a school of ten fish swimming in the river. The faces of each of the supporting tablets display graphic images designed by the students to illustrate an ecological overview of the salmon.

During a series of seminars, students from Luther Burbank High School studied the salmon's life cycle and some of the regional environmental conditions that the salmon face in the Sacramento area. As a group we visited the Nimbus Fish Hatchery where students had the opportunity to tour the hatchery facility with a biologist from the U.S. Department of Fish and Game. During our semester long study, students recorded their experiences through drawings and notations in sketchbooks. From their sketchbook notations, they developed compositions that interpret the image themes explored in our study of the salmon. The installation of this project was completed in mid December 2000.