Public Art Installation in Morgan Hill by Gordon Huether Creates Web of Conversation

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Morgan Hill Parking Garage Project Completed With Public Art by Gordon Huether

New Public Art by Gordon Huether, Now Installed in Morgan Hill, CA

'Tarantula' by Artist Gordon Huether

“Our goal is to enliven public spaces with visual art and promote arts and culture within the community, making downtown the community’s playground.” ~ Mayor of Morgan Hill, Steve Tate

Approximately one year after the Morgan Hill City Council approved two public art installations by internationally recognized artist Gordon Huether, they now adorn the new parking structure between Third and Fourth Streets. Gordon Huether Studio was part of a design and build team that submitted a proposal package in response to the City of Morgan Hill’s request for proposals for the parking garage. The design team, made up of Gordon Huether Studio, F+H construction and WMB architects, worked closely with the City of Morgan Hill to ensure a successful project outcome.

The first installation entitled ‘Tarantula,’ "is designed to be whimsical and cheerful”, Huether states. The annual migration of tarantulas, who are native to Santa Clara County, is celebrated here in Morgan Hill at Henry Coe State Park each October with the ‘Tarantula Festival’. The 'Tarantula' installation subverts the tarantula’s fearsome presence by reimagining it as an amusing, three-dimensional arachnid crawling up the façade of the parking structure’s Fourth Street entrance. The installation is composed of hundreds of vintage-style headlights for the spider’s body and is adjoined by eight vibrantly red powder-coated waterjet cut aluminum, outstretched legs. 'Tarantula' is not only a playful addition to the Parking Structure, but also celebrates nature’s beauty through artwork that radiates with light and color.

When the renderings of the proposed 'Tarantula' artwork were initially released to the community it created a lively web of conversation. En par with Huether's belief that good public art stirs conversation, 'Tarantula,' has already become a beloved and iconic public art piece in the city of Morgan Hill.

The second installation, entitled 'Poppy Jasper', and also the name of Morgan Hill’s ubiquitous gemstone, was the inspiration for the translucent enclosure, wrapping around the parking structure’s stairwell. Facing the Third Street Plaza 'Poppy Jasper' features the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows of the gemstone that is said to have healing properties. By celebrating this hometown gemstone, the artwork also promotes a strong local identity of the community of Morgan Hill. The stairwell is illuminated, which gives the 'Poppy Jasper' installation a lantern-like glow. The artwork, executed by Huether, conveys joyful light and color as well as warm beauty.

Tarantula has a diameter of approximately 12 feet and the glass panels for 'Poppy Jasper' measure 26'H x 19'W and 26’H x 11'W. The total art budget for these two art pieces is $425,000, the biggest art investment in Morgan Hill's history. "We are very fortunate that the winning bid for this design-built-273-space parking garage project happened to have the biggest art budget, with a world-renowned artist" says Edith Ramirez, Economic Manager for the City of Morgan Hill."

In addition to Gordon Huether’s works of art, the City of Morgan Hill has approved over a dozen placemaking and art projects, awarding approximately $300,000 for a wide range of permanent and temporary art installations. The projects ranged from murals and sculptures to street furniture, decorative sidewalks and tree lighting. “Our goal is to enliven public spaces with visual art and promote arts and culture within the community, making downtown the community’s playground.” said Mayor Steve Tate. These efforts are part of the Downtown Placemaking Investment Strategy where the City just invested $25 million of former RDA bond monies to improve Downtown by adding a parking structure, 2 parks, a trail, a public plaza and other needed infrastructure improvements. Ms. Ramirez, believes that these art installations and placemaking efforts will promote economic vitality, attract visitors and enliven Downtown, creating a unique experience for residents and visitors alike.

The opening of the new garage and the dedication of the new public artwork will be celebrated with an official inauguration later this month.

About Gordon Huether Studio
Gordon Huether has mastered the challenge of creating art in a multitude of environments and mediums. The scale of his work ranges from large architectural installations for public commissions to small intimate works of art for private collections and residences.

Since founding Gordon Huether Studio in Napa, California in 1987, Huether has worked extensively with glass on a large scale and has also created works incorporating salvaged materials, bronze, aluminum, steel, light, water and neon. All work is fabricated at Gordon Huether Studio by artisans who are internationally recognized for their creativity, technical ability and craftsmanship.

Huether's talent for intuitively reacting to the materials and the space they occupy, whether indoors or out, has led to the successful completion of over 60 public art projects and more than 160 private art commissions.

In 2009, Huether was the recipient of several awards, including the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) Best Public Artwork in the US Award for the “Gotta Go” art installation at the Jacksonville International Airport. In 2015 Gordon Huether and his team have been selected to work with the Salt Lake City Department of Airports and the architectural Firm HOK in meeting the goals of the Terminal Redevelopment Program at Salt Lake City International Airport, which includes a comprehensive art master plan. The brand new state-of-the-art terminal, currently one of the largest construction projects in the United States, will showcase Huether’s art throughout the new terminal.

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