2020, stainless steel, fiberglass
After two years in process, this sculpture was installed on the corners of St. Paul Street and Maple Street two days before the pandemic shutdown operations in March. Depicting a larger-than-life red-winged blackbird perched on huge cattails, the sculpture references local ecology and the rain gardens they are installed within, creating an informal gateway to Burlington's downtown business district.
Pill and Sikora fabricated the sculpture at Generator's metal shop in the South End and at Arcana Workshop in Barre. The bird is sculpted out of foam, fiberglass and stainless steel, while the cattails are made of a patinated mild steel with polished stainless steel accents. The artists worked closely with Artisan Engineering and the City's project team to design a base that would provide the right support for the sculpture's 12-17 foot height without impeding the rain garden's function.
This project was commissioned as part of Burlington's Great Streets Initiative, a planning project designed to make new investments in the downtown's public infrastructure, that ensure that Burlington residents have a downtown that is a vibrant, walkable and sustainable. The design standards include provisions for public art and stormwater infrastructure.
Photos by Yeager Anderson