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The Creation of “City of Orlando,” Mastrangelo’s Sculpture Relief

Why I created the Sculpture Relief: “City of Orlando.”

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Orlando Museum of Art’s First Thursday’s Competition for January 5, 2012 was entitled “Sculpture, the Ultimate Process.” Remembering the brick pavers surrounding the Orlando Museum of Art, I thought, “Why not enter the competition with a streetscape scene from the Museum grounds. That would be a form of “Pop Art” based on common objects: a manhole cover and surrounding bricks that museum visitors walk over to enter its hallowed walls.

Orlando Museum of Art (Florida, USA)

Two references were needed: close-up photos of the bricks which were provided by Jamieson and a rubbing of the manhole cover which Susan Raff cheerfully delivered. Here she is on the museum grounds, sweeping off the manhole cover, preparing for the rubbing.

Susan Raff  “Grate Works Apprentice” 

Manhole Cover Rubbing used for reference.

A blank foam background is as intimidating as a fresh canvas is to a painter. The circle was drawn and the letters were formed.

Once the letters and grids were added, the art work took shape. It looked OK.

To create the bricks pavers, the grout tracks were cut out and the Individual brick edges were beveled. For protection the bricks were bandaged with plaster gauze: the kind used for broken-bone casts. Cement and acrylic paint were brushed on for brick texture.


For the arrow placement, I called upon my husband, Al to use his Mechanical and Architectural Drawing Skills. He sketched the “Parking Lot Arrow” and I painted the area. Stage One of the sculpture relief looks finished except for two problems, artistically speaking:  See if you can discover them?

The Colors were too intense and the letters of the manhole cover needed rotating to create artistic tension. This created frustrating challenges. Every single brick had to be recolored and then antiqued. The arrow was affected too. Now that it was more subdued, I hesitated to add opaque paint. So I completed the arrow image with glue and sprinkled sand.


To rotate the manhole cover was a major  job.  Together Al and I cut around the  cover edges, gently prying up the cover.  We rotated it left forty-five degrees and I glued it back in place. The only problem was that a few gaps appeared around the edges.  Guess how I solved that?…  By adding simulated moss and actual cinders from our street.


So many steps, so many challenges… Yes!

“Sculpture is the Ultimate Process!”





22 replies on “The Creation of “City of Orlando,” Mastrangelo’s Sculpture Relief”

Kudos to you, Bobbi. You are truly talented. Keep up the good work!
Nilsa Diaz
TOHO Water Authority

Dear Bobbi,
“Grate” things are happening!
How wonderful for you! Thanks for staying in touch.

Have you ever made a cover with a spiritual message on it? Wow, you could really spread the Gospel message of good news to thousands of people each day who walk past your beautiful artwork. If so, send me what you’ve done.
Well, take care, and may God continue to bless you with His joy, peace and prosperity.
Nancy Wibben,
Former Colleague and Educator

Now, your web site – it is just marvelous! You are so creative. I loved the Orlando pavers and cover.
Bonnie Byrne
Solivita Book Circle
President and Friend

Great work by your apprentice. Has she done any
Other manholes?
Husband of “The Grate Works Apprentice”
(Who almost survived “The Manhole Cover Rubbing Experience)

Dear Bobbi,
Your vision, planning and determined construction of your Art Work were really amazing and inspiring.
The final result was superb and very beatiful!
With our most heartfelt congratulations!
Tacito & Ana Maria
Sao Paulo Brazil

Wow ! Your Orlando sculpture is great and the blog on its creation is facinating. It is amazing how you do these things. Love to you and Al.

Hal Wicker

Bobbi, dear, your Bobbisms always amaze! Great grates and your genius for solving artistic problems is eternal! Congratulations on Orlando.

Sandy Wicker
Poet, Educator


Hi Bobbi
What a way to set a footing! Grate!
Love the “Pop Art” totally happening
Happy Easter and much Love, Sunshine, and Warmth!

Love the newest entry at the Orlando Museum of Art. Your manhole art has always reached out to reflect an international nature as with “The Grate Wall Medallion”, and “The Indian Iron Worker”. It is wonderful that you continue these remarkable works, they make people stop and appreciate things that are taken for granted in our society as well as honor America, you stand up for U.S. and are counted!

Few things left to clear off the plate and hope to start writing towards a grant for the Veterans.XXXXX- keeping fingers crossed.

WIth Love,

Hi Bobbi,

I just saw your website and wanted to complement you on your work transforming manhole covers -which also serves to preserve a disappearing commercial art form. Our mutual friend Tacito Pereira Nobre recommended your work to me during a skype conversation. He has become a friend over the last year and he spoke of how much he values the friendship he has shared with you and your husband since his visit to the US many years ago.

Best of luck in all your artistic endeavors,

Ted Rice

I am presently in MA for two weeks and had some time to peruse your work.
It was fascinating to see the step by step process and then the finished product. I am intrigued by your work.
You are truly a ‘grate’ artist.
Jeanne Gagnon
Solivita Book Club member.

Grate minds think alike; agree on how grateness is lacking in leadership and to what ends our journey flows, sometimes down a sewer of dispair only to define who we are as a people; gutteral genius or flawed refuse, analyse the facts.
A chance Solivita meeting

Hello Bobbi,
I especially like the Orlando Sculpture and am interested in the creation of it. Your creative talent always brings unique ideas and the Orlando work shows just that!

I always remember our times together working in your ‘shop!’ Those were the best of times for me!!! Regards to Al and hope that you continue to have the time of your life!!!!

Greetings Ms. Mastrangelo,

You work is really cool. I used to live/work in a foundry building where most of the manhole covers in the San Francisco Bay Area were made. The Phoenix Ironworks.

I am a classically trained artist (Art Students League of New York) who has developed considerable computer related skills, one of which is the use of modern CNC technology to create relief carvings. Your work is intriguing, and if you take a look at some of mine you will see why it might resonate with me. Here is a link to a 32 inch diameter relief carving. The outer ring is walnut and the inner circle is carved high density foam that has been bronzed.
I do custom relief carving and moldmaking for other artists. If by any chance you might ever encounter a situation where a large scale piece of your work is desired I can carve up to 50 inches by 100 inches. You work might be very appealing in glass. A friend of mine has a glass foundry and is capable of casting up to about 1800 pounds in a single pour. Of course larger pieces can be made in multiple sections.
I would love to work with you if ever you have a need for my services.


Will Tait

Hi Bobbi..
I love rereading your blog..and the comments posted..I have stated sharing your postcards with my family and friends..I send them the postcard..asking them to view your blog..Have a GRATE day
your apprentice
Susan Raff

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