George Washington Middle School Relief Sculptures
Cast concrete bas reliefs were less expensive than traditional free-standing marble and granite sculptures. Two highly stylized nationalistic symbols: the eagle and the profile of George Washington (1732-99) greet students, staff and visitors at the school. These architectural reliefs are excellent examples of one of the FAP styles incorporating a stiff and restrained neo-classicism. In fact, this is one of the only examples of this style left in Long Beach, since the Veterans Memorial Building with a relief by Merrell Gage (“Allegory”) was destroyed in 1978. Two alternative Cedar Avenue entrances are bordered with allegorical low-relief characters reminiscent of Greek vase paintings. North Doorway: male and female forgers. A female face is above the door. South Doorway: Female and male sculptors with a male face above the door. These low-relief sculptures, as well as the stylized flora and fauna surrounding the doorways, are derived from the Beaux-Arts classical style and are characteristic of Depression Moderne structures. On Pacific Avenue (facing east) are two doors leading to the Metal Shop and the Wood Shop. The doors are capped by stylized students using wood and metal shop tools to create projects. The lintels sit atop a metal and glass Streamline Moderne light fixture.
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