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Arts and Humanities-Unit 2


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Unit 2 Project-Art
Part I: The First Presbyterian Church
Part II: Giant Fire Hydrant
HU300: Art and Humanities: 20th Century and Beyond

Unit 2 Project-Art
Part 1: The First Presbyterian Church
The term "architecture" has been adopted to describe the activity of designing any kind of system. In relation to buildings, architecture has to do with the planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, environmental, and aesthetic considerations (The Art of Being Human p. 161-162). It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration (The Art of Being Human p. 161-162).
The assignment asked that I take a field trip and find one example of architecture that catches my attention. A Religious Architecture; The First Presbyterian Church is the architecture that I chose. It’s located at 8th and Green in Orange Texas. This building was built in 1908 and was dedicated January 28, 1912. The architect was James Oliver Hogg of Kansas City, MO (The First Presbyterian Church). The architectural style is modified Greek Revival. What is modified Greek Revival? Most Greek Revival style buildings presented low-pitched pedimented gable roofs to the street, supported at the corners by pilasters. The most imposing examples had colonnaded porches with Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns. Symmetrical openings were typical. (Greek Revival) The First Presbyterian Church is made up of the finest of its type-mahogany wood, granite exterior, opalescent stained glass windows and interior dome, bronze light fixtures, and Carrara marble stairways. The First Presbyterian Church of Orange Texas features the only opalescent glass dome in the nation, Italian marble, and leaded art glass windows. A copper dome with stained-glass windows sits atop of the building and an ornate wrought-iron fence surrounds the building. This church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was the first air conditioned public building west of the Mississippi River. At the time of its construction, sufficient power to operate the system was not available in Orange. Therefore, a private power plant was built adjacent to the church to meet this need. (The First Presbyterian Church)
This beautiful architecture was created by one woman’s dream, Frances Ann Robinson Lutcher. Without divulging the cost, Mrs. Lutcher planned and oversaw the entire project. This architecture is now known as The Lutcher Memorial Building.

Basinger, S. (n.d.). Citing Website. Greek Revival Style. Retrieved February 13, 2012. from;
Citing Website. The First Presbyterian Church. Retrieved February 13, 2012 from!who-we-are;
Pearson Custom Publishing. 2009. The Art of Being Human: The Humanities As A Technique For Living, Custom Edition. Retrieved on February 13, 2012

Part II: Giant Fire Hydrant

The piece of art that will be discussed is the giant fire hydrant located in downtown Beaumont, Texas. The hydrant would be considered civic art and has been at its present location since 1999. After researching the website the following facts were found. The giant hydrant stands at 400 Walnut Street in Beaumont and was once the world’s largest fire hydrant until 2001 when a larger hydrant was built in Canada. The giant hydrant, which stands 24 feet tall and weighs in at 4,500 pounds, was designed and built by Disney Corporation. Constructed from steel, the hydrant is painted in a black and white Dalmatian pattern and when it was running it could flow 1500 gallons of water per minute. Originally the statue was erected to commemorate the re-release of 101 Dalmatians, now it stands outside The Fire Museum of Texas.

The statue was officially commemorated on March 9th 1999. Although initially the hydrant was used primarily as a marketing tool for Disney it remains in its present location as an art piece for the Fire Museum which has many antique fire trucks and other 1920’s period fire-fighting equipment as well as history exhibits. This piece of art is more abstract as it does not really represent and glorify hydrants. Rather it is an icon of and in the fire-fighting world. This particular piece of art is interesting because it has served a dual purpose in its life. As such, is has represented different things at different times. First, it was a marketing tool for Disney. At this time it was abstract as dogs are sometimes associated with…relieving themselves…on hydrants and the paint scheme matches Dalmatian coats. While still an abstraction, the hydrant now has different associations. Outside the Fire Museum of Texas the hydrant represents the water delivery that sustains the fight against the blaze; additionally the Dalmatian breed of canine has been immortalized as the fire fighter’s best friend. For these reasons the piece is abstract in nature. When Disney searched for an eager home for the world’s largest hydrant Texas was welcoming. Such decisions are not made flippantly and the people of Texas must have felt the statue represented them in some way in addition to its association to fire fighting. Beaumont could have had any fire-fighting themed piece of civic art. And so conversely, there may also exist a representational element to the hydrant. After all, at its time of construction it was the largest hydrant in the world, and everything is bigger in Texas.

World’s Largest Fire Hydrant. Retrieved on February 14, 2012 from

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