BP2 - Our Newest Public Art Project


Operation Valor Arts launched it newest public art project on Thursday, February 28 at the Forest Hills Veteran Housing facility. The recently rehabbed structure is owned by ACTION-Housing. The new Veteran Design Team includes 10 Veterans; four of whom are Forest Hills residents and the rest are mentors and Veteran community supporters.

We saw people from many walks of life come together for two common purposes; creativity and an opportunity to pay tribute to Veterans and Veteran families.

The meeting itself started a little after six when we went around the room and introduced ourselves. I was surprised at the many different artistic backgrounds that members were coming from, including photography, sculpture and writing. The Team is dedicated to getting things moving in the public space allotted to us at this highly visible location.

One big takeaway mentioned by our organization’s fearless leader and Operation Valor Arts Executive Director, Allyson Holtz, is that large-scale public art projects are not completed overnight and have a lot more bureaucratic hoops to jump through than smaller works. There are things that need to happen in public projects such as developing relationships with stakeholders, and piles of paperwork in need of signatures.

At the meeting, our discussion dealt with the site study the Team would undertake. Since we have a designated site or location, this project is known as a “site-specific” work. The Team will examine how people will view the sculpture from various positions. For example, looking from the nearby bus stop; as they drive by and from the top floors of the housing facility.

Joe Costa, our ACTION-Housing liaison, assured everyone that almost anything is in the realm of possibility when it comes to our design and implementation. Everyone is excited that whatever we do decide to create for the space, it will be seen by hundreds of thousands or even millions of people throughout the years. The location is perfect for that, sitting on top of the heavily trafficked corner of Ardmore Boulevard and Braddock Road.

The meeting concluded around 7:30pm and the room erupted with members mingled side conversations. If OVArts has anything going for it, it’s the Team we have assembled. They are truly good people, eager to help make a difference and meet others who want the same. In my future writing, I will be introducing you to some of these remarkable individuals.

Allyson Holtz