The Dome

Proposal for: The Dome – Imagine Art in Old Courthouse Square | Santa Rosa, CA | 18' x 36' diameter | Dichroic glass, stainless steel


I began my creative journey for this project by thinking about all of my own personal experiences with the community of Santa Rosa over the past many years.

My earliest recollections of Santa Rosa, the downtown area in particular, are from the 1970s when I would accompany my father Hubert to work. Hubert was a window display designer and worked for the Carithers Department Store chain, which included Petaluma and Napa locations as well as the White House in Santa Rosa, located at 888 Fourth Street.

I have nothing but fond memories of my early days in Santa Rosa. My experiences there had a profound influence on my development as an artist. Having been a member of the community, I have already engaged with the people in unique ways and I was able to begin this project with a very solid foundation for my creative process.

As I delved deeper into what might inspire and drive my creative response to design something iconic, relevant and compelling to the community of Santa Rosa, I started to think about the history of the city and of Old Courthouse Square, in particular.

I thought about the natural wonders of the area and Luther Burbank’s explorations of botany and agricultural science. I took inspiration from one of my favorite quotes from Burbank:

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful, they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.”

From this source of inspiration, I started ruminating on what the artwork should be, in connection to the Old Courthouse Square and its history. This reflection of the building led me to the dome at the peak of the building; its classical architectural form has universal appeal to everyone; it’s simply timeless. I visioned something of an amphitheater, a gathering space, a symbol of the old and the new, and of forward-thinking Santa Rosa.

While thinking about our Old Courthouse Square project at home during COVID, I created a little rock, glass and water flower-garden that gave me a beautiful creative epiphany for this project.

This epiphany was to transform my small creation of rock, glass, water, and flowers into a large-scale sculpture. The abstract flower petals create something of a rose window similar to what we would find from days of old in cathedrals or in a kaleidoscope, but with a very forward and contemporary way of being and seeing.

At the center of our dome, well out of reach to prevent vandalism, we have a dazzling array of patterns, of abstracted flower petals made of dichroic glass. And the real magic happens when the dichroic glass is activated by the light from the sun…it activates the dome!

Flower petals come in so many beautiful colors, shapes, and different personalities. The variety of the abstracted petals is meant to represent the metaphor that each petal symbolizes a different facet of diversity and humanity coming together as a community…cultural inclusivity.

The Dome will be approximately 18’ high and 36’ in diameter, and will be fabricated out of brushed stainless steel 304 and feature 300 safety-laminated dichroic glass “petals” fastened to the top. Eight (8) legs will be made from 4” square stainless tubing to support the structure.