Sunfix for Judy debuted at the new Highgate Springs, Vermont, border station in 1997.
Burlington sculptor Kate Pond created Sunfix for Judy to greet visitors crossing the U.S.-Canadian border and to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Sunfix sits at 45 degrees north latitude, the midpoint between the north pole and the equator, and marks the passing of the vernal and autumnal equinox. In daylight, the sun's rays pass through a round interior tunnel in the sculpture and cause an elliptical sunspot to move across the ground, growing and shrinking in size with the changing angle of the sun. At noon on first day of Spring and the first day of Fall, the sunspot focuses perfectly on a black Vermont marble target. Judy in the title refers to Judith Brown, a friend, mentor, and fellow sculptor, who died of cancer in 1992.
"I hope people will climb out of their trucks or cars to stand on the black marble under the arch," Kate said, "and that children will climb and touch and enjoy it." She wants visitors to this interactive piece to "feel the wind rushing through the steel tunnel, watch the sunspot move beneath their feet, and ponder the connections to the rest of the world."
Senator Patrick Leahy and Kate were the first to do just that: they stepped hand-in-hand through the arch after the dedication.
Kate Pond has studied ancient stone work and alignment pieces worldwide, and has completed sculptures marking the seasons in Norway and Quebec. Her World Sculpture project is continuing with pieces in Hawaii, Japan, and Australia (see the recently completed Sendai sundial sculpture Himeguri for an example of this work). Kate has family roots in Franklin County and a studio at the S. T. Griswold plant in Williston, Vermont.
Art in government buildings has been an American tradition since 1855 when Congress commissioned frescoes for the committee rooms in the House of Representatives. Every new federal and many new state buildings continue this heritage.
When you visit the new border crossing, be sure to enjoy the strategy and layout of the buildings. Beauty, function, and intrigue can be found in more than a painting, a book, or a sculpture. The building design itself is art, from its shape and texture which mirror the surrounding ledges, to the "airplane wings" covering the inspection areas.
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460