Mitchell Park Sculpture

Unity Arch artist’s renderingDr. Glenn Mitchell Park Sculpture Project

As part of the McKinney Arts Commission’s public art program, a new sculpture will be installed in Dr. Glenn Mitchell Park adjacent to Historic Downtown McKinney. The installation is made possible by funding from the McKinney Arts Commission and City of McKinney with matching support from downtown developer and business owner, Don Day and his children.

The McKinney Arts Commission issued a national call for entries for the sculpture and three semi-finalists were identified. After taking public input on the three entries, Unity Arch by Ai Qui Hopen was selected as the finalist.  

The image on this page is not an exact representation of the final Unity Arch sculpture.

Artist's Statement

This work may be interpreted as an ode to nature, but it is also symbolic of human freedom, aspiration and unity. In this work, the form rises up from roots connected to earth, with plant life (tree) and animal life (doves) entwined, spiraling up toward the light and air. We see two columns of birds spiraling upward, symbolizing a DNA helix, then join at the top in unity.

The lower section of the sculpture will be made of hammered copper, conical or trapezoidal in shape and hollow. This shell will be filled with concrete at the site. The hammered copper surface of the shell depicts in repousse' relief, a flock of birds rising up from foliage on one side of the work, and on the other side the roots and trunk of a large tree with branches rising up and birds between the branches. 

The bottom two meters of the sculpture will be smooth. From that point upward, the sculpture will be made of heavy steel plate, plasma-cut with the silhouettes of a rising flock of doves. The bird shapes will appear as cutouts in the plate and also as free-flying shapes welded in a flock to the sides of the main steel plates. These heavy plates will be roll-formed into gentle spiral shapes. The two large triangles of steel spiraling up will form a double helix, joining at the top into a flock of birds spiraling upward as one.