Partners

Partners

The Common Good

Artist

Jon Barlow Hudson

Partner

Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory

Description:

When Timothy Riordan retired from being the City Manager of Dayton, Ohio, he wanted to honor the many civil servants he knew who demonstrated these ideals in their work, day in and day out. He also hoped to bring recognition to Dayton’s history as a pillar in the good government... Read more

When Timothy Riordan retired from being the City Manager of Dayton, Ohio, he wanted to honor the many civil servants he knew who demonstrated these ideals in their work, day in and day out. He also hoped to bring recognition to Dayton’s history as a pillar in the good government movement of the early 20th century, when the city explicitly stated in its charter that public employees be hired on the basis of merit and fitness and promoted on the basis of efficiency and conduct.

Tim had an idea: through an open request for proposals, he would find an artist to create a monument emphasizing and clarifying these public service values. He planned to personally fund the project, and eventually he was joined by three other contributors. The monument would be erected on public property and owned by the city.

Employing a group of like-minded friends and the local art consulting firm Build Art In, Tim created a committee to review dozens of proposals. Internationally recognized sculptor Jon Barlow Hudson, a resident of nearby Yellow Springs, Ohio, offered a compelling vision for the monument, titled “The Common Good.”

Jon proposed a monolith, eight feet high by 6.6 feet wide by 16 inches deep, of Pennsylvania granite. On either side, a seat would be hewn, and an opening between these seats would enable two people to communicate through the stone.

“The idea here being that communication between people is bridging the different perspectives that each person has: each seat faces a different direction on opposite sides of a very intractable material,” Jon wrote in his proposal, “But, the seats are open to each other, so they are nevertheless able to communicate. This is a reference to the communication required to build bridges through public service.”

Dates

Made: 2017

Additional Notes

The artist and committee together identified pertinent quotations about public service to engrave in a running frieze around the top of the monument and inside one of the seats, engaging the viewer in circling and sitting in the sculpture. Then Jon got to work. His starting point was an 8-by-6-foot granite surface plate fabricated by Lawley Precision Surface Plate in Wyoming, Pennsylvania. He had obtained this massive piece from Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

“With the surface plate standing vertical, one sees both its polished face, and its opposite side, which is the natural, raw texture left by the a metal-wire block-cutting process. I wanted to bring attention to both surfaces. On the already highly polished face, I wanted to continue that surface treatment in the seat. I planned to add contrast by also polishing the interior of the elliptical seat cut into the textured side,” Jon explained.

First using a core drill and 5 inch diamond core bit to set the depth of the seat as the block was prone, he then brought in a crane to lift it to its standing position and used a Stihl chop saw with a 14-inch diamond blade, followed by a 9-inch diamond disc on a two-hand grinder, for the rest of the rough cutting. After breaking out the stone to create the seats, he did the fine shaping with a 4-1/2-inch diamond disc and a Braxton-Bragg Viper Contour Blade on a Bosch grinder. Final polishing of the seats was done with a Zec 36 grit disc followed by series of seven diamond polishing pads on a water-feed air polisher.

This new addition of public art, both imposing and intimate, was installed in November 2017, in Cooper Park, a central downtown square. It serves as a gateway into the park from the northwest, leading to a spectacular new public library building on the south side of the square. Daniel Cooper, an original settler and Dayton’s second mayor, established Cooper Park “to be an open walk forever.” It is thus fitting that a monument dedicated to public servants and the common good should reside in the City’s first community greens.

Media
Categories
Sculpture
Landscape Installation
Address:

Cooper Park
Dayton, OH 45402
Montgomery County

Materials

Pennsylvania Granite

Dimensions

Length: 6.6 feet
Width: 16 inches

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