In Downtown Columbia:
“Dealings,” a bronze life-size sculpture by William Duffy, portrays James Rouse, founder of Columbia and The Rouse Company, and his brother Willard, who served as executive vice president. It is the only sculptural representation of James Rouse in the city he created and was installed in July 2002 by CA in honor of Columbia’s 35th birthday. James Rouse died in 1996; the statue reminds people of his vision for a better city for all people. “Dealings” was originally commissioned in 1986 by Rouse and Associates, a development firm headed by Willard’s son Bill Rouse, and placed at the entrance to its Columbia office in Symphony Woods Office Center on South Entrance Road. The piece was commissioned to honor the caring nature and wisdom of the Rouse family and the memory of Willard, who died in the early 1970s.
“Sail,” a 24-foot abstract steel sculpture by James Arthur Benson, was placed on the lawn in 1984 by The Rouse Company. “The sculpture,” says the artist, “admits that it’s steel but has a playfulness, too. It relates to the environment because it is a wind-activated piece.” The front fin can move up to 45 degrees depending on the wind velocity. Benson was chairman of the sculpture department of the Maryland Institute College of Art for three decades, from 1972 to 2002.
In the area overlooking the plaza is “The Hug,” a bronze sculpture by Jimilu Mason. It was a gift to the community from The Rouse Company and Enterprise Development Corporation in honor of the late Mort Hoppenfeld. As vice president of The Rouse Company, Hoppenfeld directed the planning and design of Columbia from its earliest pre-development days until 1975. In 1982 he returned to Columbia to work with Enterprise Development Corporation.
Hoppenfeld died in 1985 at the age of 56. According to the artist, the work reflects “Columbia as Mort envisioned it — a city of love, a city for lovers.” Mason is well represented in the Washington area. Other works include the bust of President Lyndon Johnson in the U.S. Capitol and “Brio,” a bronze dancing man in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Bear and Nursing Cubs” is placed at the corner of the American City Building. It was purchased by The Rouse Company to mark the company’s 30th anniversary. The accompanying plaque lists the names of every employee of The Rouse Company at that time. The artist is Beniamino Bufano, an Italian sculptor who moved to the United States as a child and lived most of his life in San Francisco. Bufano did a series of large, simple animal sculptures in stone that invite people to touch, sit or climb on them. More of his work can be seen locally at the Bufano Sculpture Garden located on the Baltimore campus of Johns Hopkins University.
“Petal Play” by Mary Ann Mears is a sculpture comprised of 14 elements sited in a park space approximately 100 feet by 400 feet in front of The Metropolitan mixed-use development near The Mall in Columbia.
The site is intended to be interactive for children and families. The inspiration for the forms is the tulip poplar and its blossoms. Abstracted petals are used at various scales from very small “petals of thought” with whimsical statements and questions scattered across the site to rotating large petals with seed pods atop tall stainless steel poles. Petals are stretched and twisted to form slides leaning against the sloping berm as well as other structures that children can crawl over and under. A large flower is a nesting place for children to climb into. Painted aluminum, stainless steel, lighting and water. Individual pieces range in size from 2 feet to 28 feet in height.
Columbia may not be known for its architecture but it does boast some of the earliest examples of the work of well-known architect Frank Gehry: the famed Merriweather Post Pavilion outdoor concert venue; the iconic white, terraced building that reflects brilliantly on Lake Kittamaqundi; and the angular, red-roofed building on Wincopin Circle.
In 1966 The Rouse Company brought in Frank Gehry to design the first buildings in Columbia. Not wanting to make a permanent move to the East Coast from his home in California, he formed a company with colleagues Dave O’Malley and Greg Walsh. The team was responsible for the Exhibit Center on Wincopin Circle, Merriweather Post Pavilion and the firehouse on Banneker Road.
In 1970, having dissolved the company, Gehry was retained as the architect for a new headquarters for The Rouse Company. That building, now repurposed as a Whole Foods Market and Haven on the Lake (a CA mind body wellness retreat) stands as an important landmark both for its cutting-edge design details that earned it an American Institute of Architects award in 1974 and for its history as the former Rouse headquarters.
Other Public Art Around Columbia
Gateway Corporate Park
“Beaver Den” by Jim Dolan
“Boy and Girl” by William Duffy
“Pair of Canada” Geese by Jim Dolan
“Pair of Red Foxes” by Jim Dolan
“Mountain Lion” by Jim Dolan
Oakland Mills Village Center
“Celestial Serenade” by Rodney Carroll
Wilde Lake Village Center
“Family” by Pierre Du Fayet
“Caracol” by Mary Ann Mears
Long Reach Village Center
“Halibrick” by Christina McCleary
Rivers Technology Park
“Family of Canadas” by Jim Dolan
“Pair on Alert” by Jim Dolan
“Rising Mallards” by Jim Dolan
Rivers Business Commons
“Fishing Bears” by Jim Dolan
2891 Broken Land Parkway
“Receptor” by Phil Nicols
The Greens in Clary’s Forest
“Untitled” by Don Shepard