Approximately 15,000 steel basses produced by The Charles C. Lewis Company will be featured prominently as part of the temporary work of art, “The Gates”, designed by internationally acclaimed artists Christo and Jean-Claude and to be on display in New York’s Central Park for 16 days starting Saturday, Feb. 12, 2005
City of New York officials expect the project to draw tens of thousands of cultural visitors to New York City during the display. A busload of C.C. Lewis employees will depart from the company’s headquarters at 209 Page Boulevard at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, traveling to Central Park to view the exhibit and the bases produced by the company for the exhibit.
The husband and wife artists, with the cooperation of the City of New York , have erected 7,500 fabric panels, The Gates, each 16 feet high and between six to 18 feet wide and spaced at 12-foot intervals. The temporary work of art follows 23 miles of Central Park walkways allowing the free hanging saffron colored vinyl fabric to create a “golden
ceiling” for visitors to Central Park. The 15,000 steel bases manufactured by C.C. Lewis serve as anchors to The Gates.
In the spring of 2003 officials at Charles C. Lewis were contacted by the artists who were referred to the company by a steel manufacturer. The artists chose Lewis to produce the bases based upon their reputation in the industry for transforming raw steel into a variety of uses through the company’s unique cutting and polishing processes.
According to Jack Corrigan, Vice President of Sales at Charles C. Lewis, the work for Christo and Jeanne-Claude represents the largest single order in the company’s 120-year history. The process included cutting and welding steel into 650-pound bases, drilling and painting the bases and applying rubber footings for the structures that naturally blend with the asphalt walkways in Central Park.
The company was also responsible for transporting the 15,000 bases, which consumed 10 million pounds of carbon steel, to a warehouse and staging facility in Queens, New York, prior to their being erected in Central Park.
This is the second project gaining international recognition for the Springfield based company. In the 1980’s, C.C. Lewis provided the stainless steel steps used in the Statue of Liberty revitalization project, headed by Lee Iaccoca. As with their previous projects, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have financed the entire project and no public financing has been used. At the completion of the 16-day showing all steel steel and other recyclable materials will be reused.
According to Corrigan, “The Gates” project will allow a lot of people both in and outside of our industry to see what our company is capable of doing. We’re very proud of the work we have accomplished and to be associated with something that will achieve national and international attention.
In addition to it’s main plant in Springfield, C.C. Lewis also operates facilities in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania and Bedford, Ohio.
The company’s involvement in The Gates has brought the attention of ABC’s Nightline news show, and a portion of an exhibit about the project in New York’s Metropolitan Museum was dedicated to the role played by C.C.Lewis.