Title: City Hall Railing
Artists: Russell Jaqua, designer
David Eisenhour, bronze medallions, designer
Steve Lopes, Balcksmith Inc., fabrication (with Dean Mook, Josh Jones, Tri Ficker)
Date: 2005
Location: Port Townsend City Hall
Media: Steel and Bronze

Russell Jaqua statement

I have been lucky enough to live in Port Townsend for thirty years. As a longtime resident, I very much appreciate the chance to participate in what I think is an extraordinarily successful updating of one of our major public buildings. It is a special honor to be invited to join my aesthetic and my civic instincts in the design of the City Hall Lobby’s railing. I hope I can make this clear. It is especially rewarding for me that my life’s work, i.e. the ability to make metal beautiful, has itself become a way to serve my community. I have been allowed to do this in a variety of ways: the firedoors at our library, the Park & Ride’s heron weathervane, the Malcolm Bruce Fountain Courtyard for the hospital, and the memorial sculpture, “Leafwing,” which will be installed along the Larry Scott Memorial Trail. But the City Hall project is especially important to me because I know it to be my last public commission.

I am grateful for the special collaboration that this final project allowed me to experience:

Working with David Eisenhour in order to explore combining forged and cast metal elements is very exciting. His medallions add a layer of detail and interest that underscore the decorative power of the piece. I am very glad we had this chance to collaborate and I wish so much we could have worked on future projects together.

The excellent craftsmanship of Steve Lopes and his fine team of smiths is a true gift. When I was unable to create the piece physically, Steve stepped in. This act of friendship and support means a great deal to me and I thank him for seeing to it that my vision became a reality.

People have asked about the railing’s motif. It is an allusion to the stamped metal ornamentation on the upper exterior of the original building. I realize it’s a subtle echo from old to new. Not many will notice. But I like to imagine the satisfaction of the person who discovers the repetition of the decorative gesture, reaching across one hundred years as if to say, ‘Greetings! We the people of Port Townsend are still here….and we still care about beautiful things.’ Thank you.

Russell Jaqua
December 12, 2005


City hall railing


Rail detail