Ground Swell 12 Unrealized

Celebrating a win is natural enough, but how to acknowledge a loss? The same amount of effort goes into the production of each. They both consist of a beginning, middle and end (the first two parts feeling much the same). It’s only the endings that become different as night and day.

A few months back, I prepared a submission for a national call to artists. I responded to the City of Palo Alto’s Request For Qualifications (RFQ) and was chosen as a finalist for creating an artwork at the city’s newly reconfigured public golf course. Two other artists and I were commissioned to create proposals. My plan was to build an environmental art piece titled, “Ground Swell 12”.

From the proposal: “Ground Swell 12 creates an artistic bridge between golfers and the wider community enjoying the baylands area. For those on the Baylands Trail, the sculpture enriches their visual experience by enlivening the textural and topographical content of the environment. For golfers, the art piece broadens the material ecology of the course, bringing an added dimension to the grounds. Ground Swell 12 helps integrate the new Golf Course into the Baylands ecological aesthetic by combining the best of both built and natural worlds.”

“From the 36’ diameter outline rise four curved crescents of hand-built stonework. Their 6’ high, craggy faces stand in contrast to the soft grassy crowns atop them. The earthen surfaces warp into parabolic folds on their way to a central stone cairn. The outer edges of the stone crescents are bench height. The interior of the piece is explored by walking  through the valleys and over the domes between, and on, the stone crescents. Visitors step down into oval stone pools or up on grassy crests to get a close look at the five unique stones displayed atop the central cairn.”

E and I waited with fingers crossed for word from California. When it came, this is what it sounded like- “The jurors were highly impressed with your proposal and found it very original, sensitive and respectful of the environment. Unfortunately, after a long deliberation the panel decided to go in a different direction and selected another proposal.”

Maybe not winning’s not the same as losing. The proposal didn’t win, so, no trip to the West Coast and no constructing a permanent artwork on the shores of San Francisco Bay. But I'm no less for having tried. I put together a solid proposal and gained knowledge and confidence for doing another RFQ someday. Not exactly something to pop a cork over, but still, worth smiling about.