NEW YORK – The Census Project, a large-scale public art project created by artist Anita Glesta for the United States General Services Administration’s Art in Architecture Program (GSA) at the United States Census Bureau Headquarters in Suitland, Maryland, will be inaugurated on Monday July 12, 2010.
Covering more than seven acres, the project attempts to humanize the abstraction of the census (data and numbers) as it draws attention to the history of numbers and the diversity of people in the United States.
A winding path and a series of reliefs playfully disrupt concepts of order and categorization associated with counting. A variety of numerical systems, including Native American and Asian, appear throughout the installation. Oversized numbers are built as areas for seating so they can serve as places to congregate outside the building.
According to Glesta “This project is a mediation on the notion of counting and order with a global perspective.” Like her other public work, the Census Project explores the integration of the physical and the social using sculpture and landscaping to create a connection between people and the land.
Glesta did extensive historical research for the project. As an example, she discovered that the
Sioux Indians gave the first census takers bundles of sticks to indicate size of families. This information helped transcend the traditional use of numerical symbols eliciting mythic elements from these usually straightforward signs. The resulting atmosphere is both mystical andaccessible, intensifying the individuals’ connection to the physical environment. The Census Project can be seen by appointment only. Please contact Christine Ewing, NCR Regional Fine Arts Officer, GSA Art in Architecture Program – christine.ewing AT gsa.gov.
Anita Glesta is an artist who specializes in creating large-scale, international public art projects
with a focus on the creation of place connected to specific historic events.