Bar News - April 19, 2013
Public Art Meant to Enhance Manchester Courthouse
By: Lynn Martin Graton
The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, through its Percent for Art Program, recently completed a major public art project at Hillsborough County Superior Court North in Manchester.
Hanging sculptures representing the founding documents and laws yet to be written were made by artist Ingrid Pilcher.
A site selection committee made up of architects, state employees, art professionals and private citizens identified themes for artists to address that included the cultural and natural history of Manchester, calming imagery, justice, and balance. The committee chose to commission a total of five artworks. Three are designed to reflect the natural resources of the area; the other two symbolize the founding documents of our country and our system of jurisprudence.
Teresa Taylorís tile murals on the second floor of the courthouse stretch across the walls in the center of the building. The heavily textured tiles in muted greens, blues, and earth tones represent the Merrimack River that runs through the heart of Manchester and the flora and fauna found along the riverís edge.
Ingrid Pichlerís sculptures are suspended from the ceilings of the two open wells on either side of the building and can be seen from Chestnut Street, as well as from various locations within the building. The sculptures consist of 50 suspended Plexiglas shapes in pale blues, greens, and clear tones, representing floating sheets of paper and inscribed with abstracted text from the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legal documents. Titled, "We the People," these artworks invite us to consider that we govern ourselves through mutually agreed-upon principles. Blank forms convey that as communities evolve, some laws are yet to be written.
Paid for by a small percentage of the stateís capital budget that has been set aside for the acquisition or commissioning of artwork since 1979, Percent for Art aims to incorporate art into state-funded buildings in ways that complement both the architecture and the function of the building. The NH State Council on the Arts, a division of the NH Department of Cultural Resources, administers the program.
Lynn Martin Graton is the acting director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. For more information on New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, visit www.nh.gov/nharts.
A tile mural depicting the Merrimack River was created by artist Teresa Taylor of Barnstead.