LEGO ‘coin’ mimics Law Enforcement Museum commemorative gold $5 coin
- Published: May 14, 2021, 8 AM
In recognition of National Police Week May 9 to 15, an art sculpture recreating the 2021-W National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum gold $5 coin rendered exclusively in LEGO bricks was unveiled May 10, in a virtual ceremony streamed live online from the museum
The “Built for Blue” sculpture — measuring 5 feet, 5 inches in diameter and 5.25 inches thick — duplicates the commemorative coin and was executed with more than 90,000 individual LEGO bricks by Melvin Brown, a retired Maryland police officer and master LEGO builder, and LEGO master artist Jermaine Gardner.
The ceremony can be viewed online at https://www.facebook.com/NLEOMF.
The coin sculpture took Brown and Gardner more than three weeks to complete. The undisclosed cost of the project was underwritten by Clark Construction from Bethesda, Maryland, and Mutual of America, headquartered in New York City.
The art installation is on display in the window of the museum’s West Pavilion. The two saluting officers on the LEGO coin’s obverse face the Memorial across the street. The names of 22,611 fallen soldiers are engraved on the memorial.
“This art installation is designed to engage and inspire audiences of all ages about the value of law enforcement,” said Marcia Ferranto, chief executive officer of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “It will be on display through the end of 2021, so out goal is for as many supporters as possible to have the chance to see it in person.”
The gold coin’s obverse was designed by Artistic Infusion Program Artist Frank Morris and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill. The design depicts male and female officers in profile facing left, both saluting.
AIP Designer Ron Sanders created the gold coin’s reverse, which was sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Craig Campbell. The design depicts a folded flag with three roses beneath, symbolizing remembrance.
Brown is a retired, 18-year veteran of Seat Pleasant (Maryland) Police Department and former head of the Community Services Unit. Brown decided to take on the project with the National Law Enforcement Museum because he has a vested interest in the organization as an active member of the Police Unity Tour Chapter 8.
Discovered through playing with his young son, Brown’s love of LEGO soon moved from pastime to stardom on the inaugural season of the television show LEGO Masters, and opened a world of opportunity for his community youth programs.
Brown’s community efforts include programs backed by a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club, LEGO robotics and LEGO after school club. He is currently spearheading a new youth project that introduces the life of LEGO into the homes of the underprivileged.
Under his brand, Brix Media Studios, Gardner’s talents have brought worldwide recognition of his craft to a full spectrum of clients. This led to showcasing his abilities on two reality television shows, Fox’s LEGO Masters and Food Network’s Buddy vs Christmas. Gardner’s goal with the National Law Enforcement Museum art project is to show dreams can be built one brick at a time.
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