LOCATION: East wall of the Richmond Police Department headquarters at 200 West Grace Street in the Monroe Ward District.
ARTIST: Michael Stutz.
DEDICATION: February 10, 2005.
DESCRIPTION: A 12 foot tall, 1,300 pound stainless steel sculpture of a police officer’s head. The structure has approximately 5,000 welds to hold its shape and cost nearly $140,000. The sculpture is meant to project “a very human aspect to the police force,” said Stutz at the time of the unveiling. “But, at the same time, it’s a face made out of steel, so it’s very strong.”
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Monroe Ward needs more art and more interesting features. The architectural and artistic creativity of the district are essentially shouldered by the classic Jefferson Hotel. This part of town — before the homes were torn down and boring store-fronts were added in their place — was Uptown, where the rich lived. Now it is a home to Virginia Commonwealth University student living, a few scattered businesses and restaurants, the Downtown YMCA (which is nice) and a homeless shelter.
The sculpture is striking in contrast to the blank, gray, boring wall on which it resides. WTVR’s Mark Holmberg has a column on the Thin Blue Line and the fact that it is not lit at night — a waste considering how much was spent to acquire it.
Sadly, as day turns to night, the Thin Blue Line sculpture all but disappears into the evening shadows…It wouldn’t take much for our city to get our money’s worth out of this big-headed cop, and it would bring a little more grace to Grace Street.