Reflect and Refract Democracy by Rose DeSiano (See Also 2020)

Rose DeSiano’s public monument, “Reflect & Refract Democracy,” engages the Eastman Garden and its visitors in an interactive system of reflections, refractions, and nonlinear history – echoing the system of democracy, which the artwork has been designed to celebrate.

In the far corners of the garden, maze-like lenticular walls interweave life-size photographs of historic Cleveland and mirrored panels, which reflect visitors into the artwork. This visual integration of past and present celebrates the garden’s visitors as active authors of Cleveland’s strong identity. In the center of the garden luminance, orbital monuments honor great individuals from the city’s history who have played pivotal roles in the city’s democracy, through political action, activism, and cultural contributions.

Embedded with prisms this monument to democracy bends and reflects light, bathing visitors in a rainbow glow as they experience the historical narrative of Cleveland, through photographs from the archives of Cleveland Public Library, The Library of Congress, John Kuntz for, and Cleveland State University’s Cleveland Memory Project. Unveiled on the centennial of the 19th amendment, an accomplishment that broadened our definition of democracy but still fell short of representing many…this artwork upholds the complicated and chaotic challenges that face democracy.

Sep 8 – Nov 30 | Main Library, Eastman Reading Garden


Rose DeSiano brings photography and sculpture together, examining cultural symbolism, the collective consciousness, and the long, tangled histories of the photograph and the monument as both a truth-teller and myth-maker.

Engaged in a public art sculpture practice, DeSiano has had artwork commissioned by multiple cities, her photo-sculptures have been installed in New York, San Diego, and Cleveland, among others, and has been the recipient of multiple international awards, such as the Uniqlo Parks Grant and FLOW.17 Public Art Award.

DeSiano received her M.F.A from the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, and her B.F.A from NYU-Tisch School of the Arts. A Professor of Photography at Kutztown University, she lives and works in her hometown Brooklyn, New York.


See Also is derived from a library cataloging term for “look here.” The program brings innovative and thought-provoking temporary works of art each summer to the Eastman Reading Garden at the Cleveland Public Library. The artwork complements the library’s broad range of cultural

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LAND studio

The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation