Flamenco - Helena, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 46° 35.159 W 112° 02.136
12T E 420661 N 5159677
Quick Description: Built beginning in 1891, the Lewis and Clark County Jail kept many ne'er-do-wells under lock and key for nearly a century.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 3/25/2019 8:34:58 PM
Waymark Code: WM109E6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 2

Long Description:
A request for bids for a new Lewis and Clark County Jail was issued by the county in February of 1891, with construction commencing later that year and completion taking place the next year. R. A. Bell and Company, agents for the Detroit Safe and Lock Company, tendered the winning bid of $43,495. As one would expect, the jail is a very substantial appearing building, built of locally quarried granite. The jail was closed in the early 1980s when a new detention centre was built nearby, standing empty for just a few short years before an enterprising group of artists and entertainers saw it as a potential new home. Beginning with a fundraiser in April of 1989, the jail ultimately became the Myrna Loy Center for the Performing Arts, which it remains today.

At the northwest corner of the building are two sculptures, this one being much the more obvious of the two, if only for its bright orange paint (or powder coating). Upon considering this sculpture we initially seized upon the similarity between its name, "Flamenco" and Flamingo, the bird, thinking this might be a highly abstracted Flamingo. We've given up on that and now look at it as a pure abstract.

Created in 2009 by Richard Swanson, Flamenco is a purely whimsical aggregation of whirls and curves. I don't think it requires further description.

Richard Swanson
Richard Swanson maintains two studios--a pottery, for making utilitarian and sculptural vessels, and a warehouse space, where he works on multi-media sculpture for museum installations, landscape installations and dance collaborations. He resides in Helena, Montana--a mountain town of much sunshine and an atmosphere of support and encouragement for the arts. His wife Penny Price Swanson, is an artist and art educator. Their son Alex is a video/social network game designer for a Disney owned company in Eugene, Oregon.

Richard’s first professional training was in psychobiology, a field dedicated to exploring the physical basis of memory. A casual pottery lesson from a friend led to an intense period of self-teaching and a career as a studio potter--later expanded to include ceramic sculpture. In 1974 he came to Helena, Montana as a resident at the Archie Bray Foundation, an internationally recognized ceramic center. An interest in working large scale with materials other than clay led him back to graduate school at the University of Montana--this time in art--where he undertook the first of several sculpture/dance collaborations with Amy Ragsdale, choreographer and art director of the Montana Transport Company.

Since obtaining his MFA from the University of Montana in 1994, his work has been honored with several major grants and awards, including a Montana Art Council Individual Fellowship, Art Matters Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship, Helena Presents Individual Artist Grant and a New Forms: Regional Initiative Grant. His many large scale works have found permanent homes in the Northwest and beyond. Several of his public art commissions have become the defining visual symbol for cultural institutions including the Myrna Loy Center, the University of Montana-Helena, and the Holter Museum of Art, all in his home town, as well as the Medford Educational Facility in Medford, Oregon. His figurative clay vessels are featured in many books and magazines and have homes in such prestigious institutions as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs in Washington, D.C.
From Richard Swanson

Photo goes Here

Title: Flamenco

Artist: Richard Swanson

Media (materials) used: metal

Location (specific park, transit center, library, etc.): Myrna Loy Center for the Performing Arts

Date of creation or placement: 2009

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