Monday, January 8, 2018

Joanna Blake's "Great Blue Herons" Sculpture

In my earlier post here about the new sculptures arriving in Riverdale Park, I promised an upcoming post about the nearby "Great Blue Herons" sculpture, meticulously designed by the late Joanna Blake. Over winter break, I got a chance to check out her great work in person and am excited to share pictures of the sculpture as well as some background on the sculpture and its revered artist with all of y'all:


If you've driven by (or walked or biked, for that matter) the intersection of East West Highway and Route One over the last month of so, you've seen this sculpture by its northeast corner.


According to this article from the Hyattsville Life & Times, Blake won a grant by the Riverdale Public Art Initiative and the Prince George’s County Environmental Public Art Project back in 2015 to have her sculpture installed at this intersection. Positioning the sculpture here was deliberate and intended to "serve as an environmental meditation for the heavily-trafficked and highly visible intersection of East-West Highway and Route One," according to this Hyattsville CDC's press release.


The press release goes on to note that Blake's sculpture will "evoke the Northeast and Northwest Branches of the Anacostia River, where the sculpture’s avian subjects can be seen in their natural habitat less than a half-mile away. Herons depicts three herons joined with outstretched wings at their tips, forming the international symbol for recycling, atop a tall steel base at the office building’s south lawn."


I never had a chance to meet Ms. Blake, but I know of how respected and beloved she was by so many folks in our local communities. It's nice to see her work live on in this sculpture and in the “Undaunted in Battle” War of 1812 commemorative sculpture that resides at the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Bladensburg Road in Bladensburg. 

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