THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is proud to unveil the “Herb Garden” sculpture by Arizona artist, Dr. Stephen Fairfield.
Installed on Feb. 26, the $70,000 sculpture was paid for by the state’s Percent for Art Program. Enacted in 1999, the law directs 1 percent of state-funded facility projects that cost more than $2 million be used to beautify the building.
“We are excited to show off this centerpiece for our Bistro Ruth patrons, and for anyone who makes their way down La. 1,” Culinary Director Chef John Kozar said. “This artistic representation fits in with our farm-to-table emphasis for our students. These herbs are frequently used in classical Louisiana cuisine, and their placement within this piece of art is incredible.”
Fairfield said he was inspired by seeing a small herb garden by the building used by culinary students as they crafted their recipes. He collaborated with colleagues from his New Media Public Art Collective and developed the idea for an attention-grabbing sculpture featuring the iconic Louisiana spices and herbs such as dill, chili, okra, sassafras and parsley.
“I hope the public experiences a sense of awe, wonder and appreciative pleasure when seeing the beautiful colors, forms and lighting effects as color waves move over the various parts of the sculpture,” Dr. Fairfield said. “This sculpture represents an homage to Louisiana cuisine and to those who care so much about it that they have created a process to perpetuate this culinary cultural expression.”
Based in Arizona, Dr. Fairfield has more than 40 years of experience in the arts. For much of the last decade, he has focused on new media and steel public art sculptures. His work can be seen in San Diego, Sonoma, Calif.; Green Bay, Tucson and Roanoke, Virginia.