Adams County’s new human services building will feature artwork that gives a nod to the site’s past.
Adams County Commissioners gave the OK to award a contract last month to Des Moines-based RDG Dahlquist Art Studio.
RDG was one of five …
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RDG was one of five finalists and received the recommendation from Adams County Visual Arts Commission.
The commission had posted in its request for proposals it was looking for “a functional art piece which will reflect the history of the orchard tree farm that early settlers planted in the early 1900s in this location,” according to a presentation to the county commission.
The site of the new Pete Mirelez Human Services Center on 120th Avenue between Pecos Street and Huron Street is among the 765 acres of apple and cherry orchards in the region that was established in 1870, according to the county.
“A lot of our work deals with transformations,” said David Dahlquist, artist/creative director of RDG Dahlquist Art Studio.
He said this project fits right into that theme as the orchard transformed into an urban area and the county was transforming a former Avaya technology center into its new human services center.
“He had a really good understanding of the space,” said Beth Robinson, chair of the Adams County Visual Arts Commission.
Robinson said the ACVAC reviewed more than 100 proposals before narrowing it to five finalists and eventually recommending RDG.
She said Dahlquist’s proposal fit the cost and concepts, plus he has experience working with governmental bodies for public art projects. Dahlquist said he has about 30 years of experience working with public art in multiple states.
Dahlquist submitted the proposal with Matt Niebuhr at RDG. The proposal is a weathering steel (to minimize maintenance needs) that shows abstract visuals of orchard ladders, blossoms and baskets for harvest. Dahlquist said it could include some lighting.
“It tries to tell a story,” Dahlquist said.
He said the proposal was a concept and that there may be some minor adjustments before completing the piece in nine to 12 months.
“I love it — bringing the old and new together,” Robinson said.
Dahlquist said he considered the scale of the project and factors like distance from the parking lot as staff and visitors walk up to it.
“Something about an arrival as a visitor, a staff member -- as they approach the building there would be a story involved,” Dahlquist said.
ACVAC receives one-half of 1 percent of the total cost of construction for any new county owned building for the placement of public art.
ACVAC also applied for an Scientific and Cultural Facilities District visual art grant in 2016 and received a $102,600 grant. The total cost of the project is $300,000, it’s the largest public art piece that the county has invested in one visual art project, according to presentation materials to the county commission.
The new human services center will house more than a dozen agencies including Adams County Housing Authority, adoption services, medicaid assistance, veterans services office, workforce and business center, and head start administration among others.
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