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Art at the Center: Through the decades
Mayo Civic Center is committed to enriching the experience of all who visit by proudly displaying public art.
Since the center’s early days, public art of historical and cultural significance has created a visually pleasing and engaging environment for visitors. In 2017, the center will complete a Public Art Project. The project will result in the addition of a major new art installation that further enlivens the center’s public areas and creates an iconic image and identity for the facility.
Drs. Will and Charlie Mayo Statue
The center’s most prominent historical artwork is the Mayo Memorial, made up of eight-foot bronze sculptures of Drs. Will and Charlie Mayo in their surgeons’ operating gowns. Created by James Earle Fraser in 1950, the sculptures were originally displayed in Mayo Park, behind Mayo Civic Center. The sculptures later stood in front of Mayo Civic Center, but were restored and returned to their original location in August, 2016.
9/11 Memorial Stained Glass
Another of Mayo Civic Center’s signature pieces is the 9/11 Memorial, a stained glass tribute to the victims of September 11, 2001. The 30 x 7 feet memorial, initiated by local artists Stephanie and Mike Podulke, features images of New York’s Central Park at the base and an image of the World Trade Center towers made with hundreds of bits of glass. The glass is framed by copper sheets with 3,021 stars punched into them, one for each victim of the tragedy. More than 400 adults and children from the area helped to create the art, which was installed in 2002.
2017 Public Art Project
In December, 2017, a striking new tapered arch-shaped sculpture was assembled on the Mayo Civic Center's Riverfront Plaza. the 30-foot long, 15-foot high stainless steel sculpture is an interactive display. The sculpture is on the center’s southern plaza while a kiosk inside the center that overlooks the sculpture invites individuals to type on a keyboard. The sentiments typed into the inside keyboard emit sound and light on the sculpture outside.
The goals of Mayo Civic Center’s public art project was to provide artwork that:
- Enlivens shared public spaces with artwork that engages with the rich diversity and creative placemaking networks of the citizens of Rochester.
- Creates an iconic image and identity for the facility that is reflective of the region.
- Complements the architecture and reflects the programmatic use of the facility.
- Contributes to the local, regional, and national dialogue on contemporary art.
A six-member Public Art Task Force selected renowned artist Po Shu Wang from among a wide pool of candidates and received approval of their artist recommendation from Mayo Civic Center’s Executive Committee on June 27. The Public Art Task Force included representatives of the community, city staff, Rochester Art Center staff, and the architect of the expansion project. Final approval for the artist recommendation was made on July 6th by the Rochester City Council.
Po Shu Wang is a multi-media artist with extensive experience in interactive public art installations. His concept for the installation at Mayo Civic Center is an interactive “portal” that involves members of the public typing a sentiment into a keyboard and then having that sentiment converted to sound and light emanating the 15 foot sculpture on the floor below. Po Shu Wang states on his “Living Lenses” website: “Our aim in public art is to invite the public to be our collaborators. We create tangible interactive portals through which the public can affect the dynamic contents of the works while exploring our physical and social environments along the way.”
The public artwork is located outside on the southern side of the Mayo Civic Center, near Civic Center Drive and 2nd Street SE, so that it is accessible to members of the public as well as visitors to the facility.