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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Arts and Artists

Make No Little Plans

 

— Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —

 
Arts and Artists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
1. Arts and Artists Marker
Inscription.  Woodrow Wilson Plaza honors President Woodrow Wilson, noted scholar and former president of Princeton University. Located just inside the Ronald Reagan building ahead is the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the nation's memorial to our 29th president. The nonpartisan institution studies national and world affairs.

Installed in the lively plaza are monumental sculptures by two Washington-born artists: the cast-aluminum Federal Triangle Flowers by Stephen Robin and the hammer-formed and welded bronze Bearing Witness by Martin Puryear. Robin's large-scale rose and lily reflect traditional uses of flowers as architectural ornamentation. The familiar yet mysterious shape of Puryear's colossal work allows viewers to create their own associations. The sculptures, commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration's Art in Architecture Program, continue a long history of government-sponsored art for public buildings.

Take a moment to marvel at the bas-reliefs by Adolph Alexander Weinman and Anthony De Francisci adorning the former Post Office Department (now Ariel Rios) building. Just under the
Sculptor Stephen Robin image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 7, 2012
2. Sculptor Stephen Robin
Sculptor Stephen Robin in his studio, with a clay model of his Federal Triangle Flowers.
roofline at either end of the curved façade are the graceful sculptures, The Transmission of Mail by Day and The Transmission of Mail by Night. A timeline of postal service history and a romantic statement of mail delivery's effect on American life are inscribed between them. Just below the sculptures, a series of plaques by Weinman and Joseph Renier illustrates communications developments: carrier pigeons, smoke signals, and drums. Benjamin Franklin tops the list of postmasters general carved into the façade.

Passageways leading to 12th Street and to the National Mall via Constitution Avenue to your left evoke architectural traditions of European cities.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 6.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Arts, Letters, Music. In addition, it is included in the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail series list.
 
Location. 38° 53.642′ N, 77° 1.773′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker can be reached from Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest west of 12th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling east. Located in the plaza between the Ronald Reagan and Ariel Rios Buildings. Touch for map. Marker
Woodrow Wilson and Bearing Witness image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 7, 2012
3. Woodrow Wilson and Bearing Witness
(Left): President Woodrow Wilson at his White House desk, around 1918. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Memorial Exhibit is open to the public. Enter through the doors located behind the Bearing Witness sculpture.
(Right): Bearing Witness was created by contemporary American sculptor Martin Puryear.
is at or near this postal address: 350 12th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Flags of the World (within shouting distance of this marker); U. S. Post Office Department (within shouting distance of this marker); Appointed Rounds (within shouting distance of this marker); Daniel Patrick Moynihan Place (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Division (about 400 feet away); Preserving the Past (about 500 feet away); To the Memory of Oscar S. Straus (about 600 feet away); Marion Barry, Jr. (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
 
Transmission of Mail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 7, 2012
4. Transmission of Mail
Look up to your left to see the bas-relief of The Transmission of Mail by Day. Its companion The Transmission of Mail by Night, portrayed behind the text of this sign, is on the opposite side of the building's curved façade.
Forms of Communication image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 7, 2012
5. Forms of Communication
The frieze illustrates early forms of communication. From left are smoke signals, drums, helio (light-reflecting) signal, blanket signal, and carrier pigeons.
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
6. Back of Marker
Post Office Department Building Construction image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 7, 2012
7. Post Office Department Building Construction
When the Post Office Department building was under construction in 1933, the area where you are standing was a parking lot that remained until the Wilson Plaza and Ronald Reagan Building were built in the 1990s.
Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 7, 2012
8. Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System
Arts and Artists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
9. Arts and Artists Marker
Federal Triangle Flowers image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
10. Federal Triangle Flowers
Bearing Witness image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
11. Bearing Witness
Early Forms of Communication Frieze image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
12. Early Forms of Communication Frieze
Section of frieze and inscription on Post Office Department Building. (See nearby markers.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 487 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on August 12, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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Jul. 3, 2020