Sculptor Jay Hall Carpenter, a Gaithersburg native who works in his Silver Spring studio, is creating an art installation that will serve as the children’s entrance to Constitution Gardens at 112 Brookes Avenue in Olde Towne Gaithersburg.
The recently renovated park, which integrates natural components for structured and unstructured play and learning, celebrates the City’s past, present and future. The area’s cultural, economic and natural history inspired Its unique interactive play spaces.
“Jay was selected through a competitive process for the Children’s Gate at Constitution Gardens public art project,” said Denise Kayser, Arts and Events Division Chief for the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture. “We issued a Call to Artists in March of 2016.”
That summer, the Cultural Arts Advisory Committee reviewed the five proposals submitted and chose two finalists who received “a stipend to develop site-specific designs and present them to the committee and City staff,” she added, noting that “the architects of Constitution Gardens also reviewed and provided feedback on the finalists’ designs.”
The criteria for evaluation, Kayser said, included artistic standards (technical feasibility, aesthetics and professional qualities); artistic style and experience (style suitability and appropriateness, experience and community development) and professionalism (cooperation and presentation).
“Jay was offered the commission and we began contract negotiations last winter,” Kayser said. “He is currently working on the artwork and anticipates installation immediately following this winter, perhaps in March or April of 2018.”
Carpenter’s 40-year body of work is not new to the metropolitan area locales. For the City, he created the bronze sculpture of former Mayor Ed Bohrer that was installed outside the Activity Center at Bohrer Park in 2016. In the state, his life-size bronze and granite sculpture of Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog has been a popular site on the University of Maryland College Park Campus since 2003. He also created an eight-foot bronze of former Maryland State Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein for the State Capitol in Annapolis and a bronze and granite, 132-inch statue of abolitionist, orator and former slave Frederick Douglass (2011) for the Talbot County Courthouse in Easton.
After two years at New York City’s Pratt Institute, Carpenter studied with Washington National Cathedral’s Master Carver Roger Morigi and Master Sculptor Frederick E. Hart. He worked under Hart on major projects including the cathedral and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. For the cathedral, Carpenter designed 500-plus of its permanent stone—ranging from classical-style angels and historical to demonic gargoyles and grotesques. He has served as sculptor-in-residence at the cathedral as well as Wesley Theological Seminary and The Catholic University of America, and has taught at the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia, Montgomery College-Rockville and The Catholic University.
Carpenter is working closely with the City’s Cultural Arts Advisory Committee and Arts Administrator Shellie Williams. “Jay’s work is always fabulously conceived and expertly executed,” said Kayser. “The designs for the Children’s Gate are magical and will be enjoyed by all who visit the park for generations to come. We are all so excited and can’t wait to see the finished work.”
Just another reason to anticipate spring!
For information on the park call 301-258-6350 or visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov. For information on Carpenter, visit http://jayhallcarpenter.com.