The Benicia Arts and Culture Commission recently announced the unveiling of Wind, Water, Land, a new public art piece at the Benicia Community Center. The wall-sized work will serve as the focus of a permanent eco-sustainable exhibit and educational medium in the LEED-Gold certified building.

The piece is an artistic vehicle of glass and metal, comprised of a significant amount of repurposed and recycled materials. The theme of wind, water and land was selected to portray Benicia’s characteristics. The intent of the artwork, funded by a Community Sustainability Commission Grant and managed by the Public Art Committee of the Arts and Culture Commission, is to serve as a catalyst for reflection and action regarding the effects of climate change.

Wind, Water, Land was collaboratively designed and created by local Benicia artists who are internationally/nationally known. The lead artist on the project was Brian Giambastiani, a metal and glass artist, who drew the conceptual design. He was joined in creating the piece by glass artists Micheal Nourot, Nicholas Nourot and David Lindsay, and metal artists David Nourot and Mike Kendall. The metal and glass are further enhanced by backlighting, designed by Larry Lauber. The story of the pieces creation, from the conceptual drawing through the approval process (required by the City of Benicia’s Public Art Program), to the actual formation of the work itself, was filmed by renowned local filmmaker John Beck. The film is available for viewing on the screen next to the artwork.

The piece is accompanied by an interactive component, consisting of informative and educational questions that provoke and enlighten citizens about the realities of climate change, energy consumption, and water usage. Wind, Water, Land is a significant sized work of art, consisting of five 3’x 5’ panels that consume the length of a long wall near the reception desk at the community center. The community center was chosen as the site by the Public Art Committee because of its environmental integrity and because it has the capacity to reach citizens of all ages. On any given day, 295 people of all ages will pass by the work.

As art inspires and speaks to the heart and mind of the viewer, the goal of Wind, Water, Land is to promote environmental awareness, eco-sustainable education, and inspire and resonate for years to come. On March 21 the piece will be fittingly celebrated as it’s unveiled to a capacity crowd. Visitors will enjoy viewing additional artworks by the participating artists, information tables on eco-sustainable living, a children’s art workshop, and several screenings of the documentary film. Please come see this striking piece and enjoy the newest gem in the city’s growing collection of public art.

The conceptual design starts with the viewer seeing five panels of salvaged, repurposed, and recycled materials. As the viewer’s eye moves along the panels, the piece transforms into strata conveying wind, water and land. Sky is formed from chunks of slumped and textured glass. In the sky, clouds and leaning cattails of recycled metal and glass depict wind. Dichroic bits, encased in glass balls, float on plasma-cut metal to form water. Rebar strips convey current. Nuts and bolts meld to shape land. In converting salvaged, repurposed, and recycled materials into a symphony of wind, water and land, this public piece expresses the magnificence of our earth, while helping us be mindful of its fragility. -Lee Wilder-Snider

Artist Bios

Brian Giambastiani: Brian trained under world-renowned glass artists at the Eugene Glass School in Oregon, and was a glassblower at internationally known Nourot Glass Studio for 9 years. He opened his own glass studio, 1015 designs, in 2008. He possesses expertise in glass, and also in incorporating metal with glass to create unique pieces.

David Lindsay: David has over 35 years experience in glass blowing. He has studied at the world famous Pilchuck School of Glass in Seattle, and with master glassblower Lino Tagliapietra in Italy. Beginning his career at Nourot Glass Studio in 1976, he eventually became a partner with Micheal Nourot. In 1998 David and his wife Ann opened their own studio, Lindsay Art glass.

Micheal Nourot: Blowing glass in the Italian tradition for over 35 years, Micheal Nourot’s roots in glassblowing come from his apprenticeship in Venice with glass masters. Micheal Nourot has also worked with the internationally acclaimed glass artist, Dale Chihuly.  Glassmakers to the Pope, US presidents, and major corporations, endless demand remains for the Nourot trademark patterns Scarlet Nova and Red Satin, whose origins come from the Italian tradition.

Nicholas Nourot: Son of Micheal Nourot, Nicholas was just 6 when he began making glass in his parent’s studio. He has pursued glass studies at the Pilchuck School, and in Murano, a major European epicenter of glassblowing. In addition, Nicholas taught for a time at Eugene Glass School. His style of glass is long and lean.

Mike Kendall: An artist for over 40 years, Mike studied at the Brooks Institute of Fine Art. His works are mainly composed of metal, creating sculptures using non-traditional elements. Winner of numerous awards, his work has been shown across the Bay Area and beyond in solo and group exhibitions.

David Nourot: David Nourot will tell you that a lifelong love affair with welding all started with a spark. A fine welder and metal artist, David spent many years inspiring thousands of students at Solano Community College as an instructor in welding. He has also taught ornamental iron work. David has collaborated on several projects over the years with his brother, Micheal Nourot.

Larry Lauber: An Electrical Engineer with a BS and MS from the University of Illinois, Larry’s expertise is exceptionally diverse in numerous areas, in both the public and private sector. He recently designed and implemented an interactive learning piece at the Benicia Historical Museum.