New Deal Art and Architecture
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Board of Water and Light Dye Conditioning Plant

The Dye Conditioning Plant at 148 South Cedar Street was designed by Lansing architects Lee and Kenneth Black and constructed in 1938-39 by the WPA in a severe, geometric style. It is decorated by WPA/FAP artworks in various media. Appropriate to the building's function, the theme of all of these works is water. This is the best local ensemble of government-sponsored art planned as a unity of architecture, sculpture and painting.

Board of Water and Light Dye Conditioning Plant

*Please note: The Board of Water and Light Dye Conditioning Plant's interior murals and sculptures are currently not open to the public.

Aquarius, 1938-39
Samuel Cashwan (American, 1900 - 1988)
Limestone relief
Front entrance, Board of Water and Light

Samuel Cashwan's 32-foot stylized Aquarius rises above the geometric Art Deco Cedar Street entrance. Water pours down from the figure's urn to two small infants symbolizing the distribution of water to the city of Lansing.

Fountain
Clivia Calder (American, born 1909)
Ceramic
Main lobby, Board of Water and Light

The grand two-story lobby of the Board of Water and Light houses a ceramic fountain by Clivia Calder. This sculptural group shows two girls grooming themselves. The flanking stairs with streamlined metal railings are graceful interpretations of machines, also found elsewhere in the plant.

 

 

Mural, Water As Destructive Element, 1940
Beneficial Force of Water, 1940
Frank Cassara (American, born 1913)

Main lobby, Board of Water and Light

Mural, Water As Destructive Element, 1940

The upper lobby features three large panels, of which the outer two are by Frank Cassara. Water as Destructive Element(on the right) depicts flooding and Beneficial Force of Water (on the left) shows water's advantages for health, cleanliness and recreation.

 

Water as Hydro-Electric Power, 1941
Charles Pollock (American, 1902 – 1988)
Main lobby, Board of Water and Light

Water as Hydro-Electric Power, 1941

Charles Pollock's 1941 mural in the center shows man's control over nature and the importance of water as hydro-electric power. The figures represent agriculture and industry, and the use of plastics and agricultural chemistry, refer to the research and work activities undertaken in this building.

 

   

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