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United Way of Lancaster County


Art installation begins at Christian Street Garage

A rendering showing the ‘New Lancaster Rainbow’ facade on the Christian Street Garage. (Source: Lancaster Parking Authority)

This week, workers will begin installing the “New Lancaster Rainbow,” a public art project, on the facade of the Christian Street Garage, the Lancaster Parking Authority said.

The installation will invovle attaching more than 450 colored aluminum tubes to the facade of the garage above the Lancaster Public Library, which occupies the first two floors. It will take about two months, the authority said.

Scaffolding is set up at the Christian Street Garage in preparation for installation of facade art on Monday, March 4, 2024. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

The art, envisioned as a capstone to the $35 million project and the redevelopment of Ewell Plaza, sparked significant controversy and even a court appeal. Community members complained that the design did not reflect Lancaster and that local artists were unjustly passed over in favor of a Miami firm: R&R studios, headed by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt.

In response, City Council mandated additional public engagement as a condition of approval. Members of the community voted on three design variant, with the “New Lancaster Rainbow” winning. The process is explained in detail on the city’s website.

In the design that ultimately prevailed, the rainbow’s predominant color is red, “reminiscent of the ubiquitous red brick throughout Lancaster,” the authority said, interspersed with other colors symbolizing Lancaster’s diversity, inclusivity and welcoming spirit.

The authority noted that fabrication and installation are all local. The tubes are being crafted and powder coated in Ephrata by Quality Metal Works and Barker’s Coating Solutions, respectively, while installation is being handled by Benchmark Construction, also of Ephrata.

Initially, the project was budgeted at $600,000 in 2018. Due to increased material and labor costs, the eventual bid was $1.36 million. The authority is covering the cost with a mix of bond proceeds and funds from its capital budget.