Bollard lights are luminaires, typically with the optical components on top, having a form factor of a short, thick post; used to illuminate walkways and grounds. Can bollard lighting be more than that? Fine artist Dina Fisher says, “Yes!”
If you ask most people how often they think about lighting, most will say “not often.” When you flip a switch as you enter a room, you’re doing it to see what’s in front of you. A flashlight beam illuminates the dark woods on camping trips, and stadium lights allow spectators to see the nuance of every play and touchdown on a football field. But lighting can also be the centerpiece of a purely aesthetic design, and carry deep meaning in itself. That’s how it was for fine artist Dina Fisher and her new art monument for the city of Denton, TX.
The meteoric growth in popularity and usership of social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter has created massive social movements, especially in the past decade. The Black Lives Matter movement, which still has a stronghold across much of the nation, helped bring increasing scrutiny of the utility and appropriateness of longstanding Confederate statues and monuments. Denton, Texas was no different. In 2016, the city of Denton wanted to find an alternative to its Confederate monument and later put out a call to action to local and national artists to rise to the challenge.
A Brilliant Idea
Dina Fisher was one of 75 applicants for the project. After she applied, she was informed that if she was selected as a finalist to create a civil rights monument for the town of Denton she would be notified. Fisher’s creative vision paid off. She was selected as the artist who would create a new art monument to commemorate the Denton Women’s Interracial Fellowship.
The Denton Women’s Interracial Fellowship arose in the 1960s between white and black Denton women associated with the local colleges and universities. They wanted to make the desegregation process go smoothly for their young children and believed things could change for the better. Most of the members of the Fellowship were mothers who wanted a future where their children could learn and grow together without the blight of racist segregation policies. The Fellowship campaigned tirelessly for over 25 years, helping to integrate public schools, pave roads in African-American sections of town, and extend compassion across racial lines and foster a sense of community. To call the Denton Women’s Interracial Fellowship a force for good would be an understatement.
Lighting Questions, Lighting Answers
On the scope and scale of the project, Ms. Fisher said, “Materials and technology and art have changed massively in the last ten years. I literally wanted to reimagine what an art monument can be.” So when she first reached out to Access Fixtures in May, she had a lot of questions for us to make that happen. How durable were our bollard lights? What did they look like, and what styles did we have? How much did they cost? During this initial vetting process, she was also implicitly vetting our customer service and know-how. During this process, Ms. Fisher met with one of our lighting specialists on Zoom to flesh out the parameters of the project and determine compatibility. Out of all the companies who sold commercial LED lighting, Ms. Fisher chose Access Fixtures because we met all of the criteria for the project.
The Best Bollard for the Job
The bollard light chosen for the art monument was our 25w VAND round dome top bollard light. This fixture presented a number of benefits for an art project like this – our RAL powdercoating charge was relatively inexpensive compared to other brands and Ms. Fisher needed the bollards to match the rest of the aluminum exhibit. In terms of functionality, Ms. Fisher needed to make sure she could drill through the tube of the bollard to attach the artwork by self tapping screws. This was also possible with the VAND. The round dome top shape was also important to the creative vision as the rest of the monument also utilizes circles and rounded edges to symbolize unity.
The way light was used was important from the get-go – round bollard lights symbolized bringing light into the world. And durability was another necessary angle. Ms. Fisher utilized a special process called dye sublimation powdercoating to create the images of children seen on the bollard lights. And the children aren’t just any children, either. All of the images of children on the bollard lights are actual students in the Denton Public School system who represent the integrated future that the Denton Women’s Interracial Fellowship worked so hard to create.
In the end, Denton removed the Confederate monument anyway. The Denton Women’s Interracial Fellowship monument is located in Industrial Street Park and was unveiled to the public on December 11, 2021. We asked Ms. Fisher what the remaining members of the Fellowship thought about the monument. “They loved it!” she said. “And they were my toughest crowd. They were the people I was really seeking to please. They were my primary audience.” Because of Dina Fisher’s artistic vision and Access Fixtures’ knowledge about lighting, the town of Denton is more beautiful than ever before.
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