Public Art: A Monument to the Last Barn (Emma Prusch Memorial Park)*Categories:
- Public Art
A Monument to the Last Barn
Artist: Gloria Bornstein (2006)
A native of San Jose, Emma Prusch bequeathed her 47 acre dairy farm to the City in 1962. The deed to the City specified that the City “will make said park a place of relaxation, recreation, and enjoyment for the people of the City of San Jose, and in such a manner as will, to extent that such can be reasonably done, give to said park a rural county character and atmosphere.” Emma Prusch Farm Park includes heritage, high density, and rare fruit orchards, a Plant Science Center, two community gardens, pollinator and butterfly gardens, as well as acres of lush green lawns for picnics and playing. It also has one of the largest free standing wooden barns in California, home to 4H large animals including beef cattle, sheep, and swine.
The artist was inspired by the story of Emma Prusch, San Jose's rich agricultural history and the continuing traditions. A Monument to the Last Barn draws upon this influence: the form is a four-sided metal structure derived from traditional Santa Clara barns, but stripped of outer cladding to reveal the essential framework. This iconic linkage to early barns is further underscored by the rich, deep barn red color of the piece. The barn’s corrugated galvanized steel roof is topped with three golden wind vanes depicting a rooster, a windmill and an apple. The gables and railings are inset with filigree screens in a bold “fruits and leaves” pattern, representing the orchards that were so vital to the region. Benches placed inside the barn create an inviting and reflective atmosphere amidst the lively park grounds. The artist conceived of this work as homage to the last great large barn on the site at Prusch Farm Park.
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