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Artwork displayed outside Tulsa firehouse

Fire Department art at east Tulsa station 33
City of Tulsa
Fire Department art at east Tulsa station 33

Public art for the new Fire Station 33, 4109 S. 134th East Ave., has been installed. This commissioned work, titled “Protect,” is available for the public to enjoy. The 6-foot-tall, stainless steel sculpture is near the flagpole and public parking lot on the west side of Station 33. The Arts Commission of the City of Tulsa chose the design team of Joe Norman and the National Sculptors’ Guild for this $48,000 project. According to the National Sculptors’ Guild, this sculpture, fabricated at Joe Norman’s studio in Loveland, Colo., is intended to “activate the site and signify the exemplary service of firefighters in a single, free-standing sculpture.”

“The Arts Commission is very impressed with this artist,” Commission Chair Pam Deatherage said. “It’s an interactive piece that changes as you walk around it. Tulsa is very fortunate to have initiated, in 1964, a program where art is provided as part of the project budget - the 1% funded public arts ordinance - to include creative pieces on display at our public buildings.” Standing on a 1,650-pound sandstone base, the sculpture has red letters spelling the word “Protect,” visible from one direction.

Two other perspectives show the gray silhouette of a firefighter. Also according to the National Sculptors’ Guild, the final side, opposite “Protect,” is “an abstraction, symbolic of the unknowns that firefighters face.” “To have the word “Protect” in fire-engine red strengthens what this word means to those in service and the community it serves,” said John Kinkade, director of the National Sculptors’ Guild.

Norman describes his work as “creating public sculptures that show different images or words depending on the viewpoint of the observer.” Norman said, “I believe that having multiple ideas coexist in a single piece is a useful metaphor for the ecosystem of ideas that public art empowers and protects.”