“Combination,” consisting of concrete and two interwoven steel beams with oversized features of iconic nail on each end that represent the strength and collaboration of the Midlothian community, is charged with connecting the buildings of which it will be a part, rather than overpowering them.
The steel-and-concrete, 30-foot-tall piece unveiled at Community Center Circle in January 2016, has two purposes. First, it creates a focal point – a visual landmark piece – around which residents and visitors can gather. And second, the piece represents the collaborative strength of the Midlothian community.
Adding to the piece’s visual appeal is “Joe,” a bronze sculpture of a man at the piece’s base, positioned as if he is directing work. While the twisted beams are the business-community collaboration, Joe is the human element, the driving force behind Midlothian’s success.
Surrounding “Combination” are 80 cast concrete blocks, 20 inches tall by 24 inches wide with twenty openings every fifth space to create one hundred spaces surrounding the sculpture. The 18th and 88th blocks are cast as triangles and stained a contrasting color to highlight the years during which Midlothian was founded and incorporated. Finally, a new slogan, “We Are Midlothian,” is within the seating circle, which consists of decomposed granite.
“’Combination’ is a wonderful piece, partly because it represents how Midlothian is collaborative and partly because the piece itself consists of materials actually made here,” said Midlothian Mayor Bill Houston. He said he liked the fact that the piece is strong, with clean, simple lines, as opposed to a fussy sculpture. The piece is also low-maintenance, which means few dollars will be spent in maintaining its pristine appearance.
For Oldham and Coltrin, “Combination” is more than an artistic piece. It’s providing an educational opportunity as well.