The commission by the Patterson Foundation for Patriot Plaza required the re-envisioning of the American symbol of the Bald Eagle in a meditation on the changing nature and face of military service in the U.S. Art by four nationally recognized public artists is integrated throughout a large amphitheater. Ann's two east entry wall Bald Eagles symbolize courage and loyalty to family.
Patriot Plaza is the result of a first-ever partnership between a private charitable entity – The Patterson Foundation – and the National Cemetery Administration. Art is integrated throughout the 1.83-acre ceremonial amphitheater, and features the work of four artists from across the country: Ann Hirsch, Larry Kirkland, Ellen Driscoll and Pablo Eduardo.
The two curved walls of Ann's "Home" sculpture at the east entrance to Patriot Plaza each hold a nest in bronze. Like human dwellings, nests are where acts of everyday life occur. The sculptures redefine the American symbol of the Bald Eagle in a meditation on the changing nature and face of military service in the United States Bald Eagles symbolize courage and loyalty to family. They build elaborate nests to which they return year after year to raise their young, but they are most often depicted as ferocious and raging. Here the emphasis is on their protective nature.
The nest on the right side wall holds two eagles. The eagles in the sculpture are "mantling," a gesture they use to protect their young and their food. They cup their bodies with their wings as the nest encircles the birds in its vessellike form. The adult eagle teaches the younger eagle how to protect its home, like a soldier in training, knowing that one day he or she will leave in order to protect its freedoms.
The nest on the left side wall is not occupied. The branches are interlaced with Abraham Lincoln's call to action at the end of his second inaugural address: "...let us strive...to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan..." The quote refers to President Lincoln's formation of the National Cemetery System as a tribute to the mission of Patriot Plaza.
Size and Materials:
Two sculptures for entry gate walls, each 17' x 6'. Bronze, stainless steel and boralstone.
Client and Committees:
The Patterson Foundation, non-profit, Sarasota, FL
The Veterans Administration
Image Credits and Permissions:
© 2014 Bobbie OBrien