Gravity-defying “Sator Cube” finds home in Arlington Cultural District

Like his sculptures, Art Fairchild’s creative process is dichotomous. He marries rigorous engineering ability with deep intuition. While Art loves the inherent nature of a material and the rules which govern it, he understands that the greatest moment of a rule is change.

The same might be said for a place or a community: through thoughtful and ongoing change, a place remains relevant as it becomes more complex, beautiful and strong. Art Fairchild’s Sator Cube, which was installed earlier this year in front of the Tarrant County Sub-Courthouse on Abram Street, symbolizes for many these on-going efforts in Downtown Arlington.

Public art and placemaking

Downtown Arlington, designated an official Cultural District by the State of Texas in 2016, is as engaged in the science and magic of placemaking as Art is engaged in the science and magic of art. Tony Rutigliano, president and CEO of the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, recognizes the synergies between the two.

“Public art creates attachment to one’s community,” said Tony. “It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an emotional connection to a place. Public art is also completely democratic. You don’t need a ticket to view it. It’s open to everyone.”

The Knight Foundation agrees. The foundation’s Soul of the Community initiative surveyed 43,000 people in 43 cities and found that “social offerings, openness and welcome-ness,” and, importantly, the “aesthetics of a place – its art, parks, and green spaces,” ranked higher than education, safety, and the local economy as a “driver of attachment.”

Bringing Sator Cube to Downtown

Sator Cube is comprised of 35 six-sided steel cubes welded at the corners, creating balance between and among the positive and negative spaces. The name of the 1,800-pound sculpture is derived from the Sator Square, a word square containing a five-word Latin palindrome.

It took Art about two months to construct the nearly 9-foot-tall sculpture. After about a year of working to find Sator Cube a home, he said he’s honored to have it prominently on display in Arlington.

“When a piece is complete, you see your vision come to fruition. To have it installed and have other people enjoy it is why we do what we do as artists. It’s incredibly fulfilling,” Fairchild said.

The Downtown Arlington Management Corporation is leasing the sculpture and the Tarrant County Commissioners Court paid for its installation.

“Art adds depth to the human soul and can draw people together in unimaginable ways,” said County Commissioner Andy Nguyen. “It’s incredible that Downtown Arlington has been designated as a Cultural District and, as good neighbors, we need to play our part. Promoting art downtown has the potential to draw thousands of additional visitors to this area and stimulating the economy is always good!”

See more of Art’s work

In his current body of work, Art Fairchild seeks to demonstrate how individual forms interact to create a connection. An exhibition of that work entitled “Facets” can be viewed now through June 17 at the Carneal Simmons Contemporary Art. Two more of his sculptures, Trio and Whimsical Spherical, are installed in Richard Greene Linear Park adjacent to AT&T Stadium in Arlington. A model of his piece Traction is on display at the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation.

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About Downtown Arlington

An official State of Texas Cultural District, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.