A Concrete Image Study by Luther Burbank High School Students of the Life Diversity at the Cosumnes River Preserve as it Relates to the Native Wetland and Woodland Habitats of the Sacramento Valley. Commissioned by Sacramento Regional Transit and coordinated by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, CA, 2003.
Historically, the area in South Sacramento now occupied by Florin Road was comprised of seasonal wetlands. To convey this natural history, artist Troy Corliss collaborated with talented local high school students to create artwork for the Florin Road Light Rail Station, and adjacent grade separation walls.
In this semester-long project, Mr. Corliss and Luther Burbank art instructors, Ted Dalorto & Russ Wadsworth of nearby Luther Burbank High School, took students enrolled in art classes to the Cosumnes River Preserve, an area similar to Florin's original environment. From direct observation, the students recorded images of the flora and fauna they saw at the preserve into their sketchbooks. For the rest of the semester, under the artist's and art instructors' supervision at Burbank's ceramic studio, the students translated their drawn images into bas-relief clay tiles. From these tiles, rubber molds were made, and the station contractor filled the molds with concrete to create the column bases for the shelter structure. In addition, cast concrete tiles of artwork were also made, and inserted into the bridge columns.
Other art elements generated during the project include cast concrete bird finials that top the shelter structure columns, steel "crop circles" and railing quotes installed on the bridge walls. The railing quotes are student generated and were selected through an open competition at the high school. The result is public artwork that promotes community participation, informs its viewers and beautifies the built environment.