City unveils art installation at Fire Station 17 in Southside

by | Jul 21, 2016 | ART

Mayor Dwight Jones unveiled a new art installation erected at Fire Station 17 in Southside Wednesday afternoon as a reminder of the community’s appreciation for the firemen’s service.

Mayor Dwight Jones unveiled a new art installation erected at Fire Station 17 in Southside Wednesday afternoon as a reminder of the community’s appreciation for the firemen’s service.

“Art is a very vital part of a great city and today we are here to celebrate this new piece at Fire Station 17,” he said to a small crowd at the fire station, located at 2211 Semmes Ave.

The sculpture, designed by local artist Ross Caudill, is titled “Estuary” and stands 10 feet tall and made entirely of stainless steel.

An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Caudill said the piece to represent that.

“It’s a very diverse, dynamic ecosystem it supports a wide variety of organisms…everything works together in order to maintain harmony,” he said. “I see this as a metaphor for how our community thrives most when diversity and harmony between citizens coincide with the natural word around us.”

Caudill said the sculpture, which was installed June 27, relates to the history and duty of the firemen that serve Richmond.

There are 106 bronze circular pieces that adorn the sculpture which Caudill refers to as “seeds” standing for the founding 106 members of the original Richmond Fire Department.

“Each of these seeds was ground by hand from a solid rod of stainless steel; this symbolizes the individuality and uniqueness of each one of these firemen and their service and commemorates their sacrifice to the community of Richmond.”

He said he wants the sculpture to act as a “portal” between the fire station and the community and Canoe Run Park which sits directly behind Fire Station 17.

Caudill is an alumnus and former faculty member of the Department of Sculpture and Extended Media at VCU.

The facility, which opened in 2012, is the first new fire station built in the city of Richmond in more than 20 years and Jones said any city construction project that have budgets of more than $250,000, 1 percent of that budget is allocated for public art.

“We’ve been able to build that fund up to about $3.2 millon and I think it’s a wonderful thing,” he said.

The cost of the entire “Estuary” project totaled $39,103. The cost of the artwork alone came to $34,103 and the other $5,000 was for the installation.

Fire Chief Robert A. Creecy addressed the crowd as well about the significance of the sculpture.

“Public art is something we all recognize here today as being valuable to the community whether we connect with it or think it is art or not it’s still an important gesture of government to connect with the community,” Creecy said.

Creecy went on to emphasize the importance of the interaction between the firefighters and the local community.

“We spend a third of our lives living in this neighbor at the station we’re assigned to and we’re here for 24 hours a time,” he said. “We’ve tried to connect the fire station to the park to the community because what we do everyday in serving the community is create relationships so this art to me symbolizes that relationship.”

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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