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Sam Gilliam’s Newest Work Inspires Dickstein Shapiro

The art of the really big deal.

Once considered the nucleus of office gossip, the water cooler is no longer the gathering place at the Dickstein Shapiro law firm.

At their new $40-million I Street offices, “Dicksteins,” as they are called, are now more likely to congregate on the stairs, where Washington artist Sam Gilliam has created a ten-floor-tall, rainbow-colored piece of draped nylon fabric. Gilliam says he drew inspiration from unfurled flags hanging from a staff.

“When they group, they fall on their own movement, and they have their own beauty,” says Gilliam. “The contained space gives it a feeling that it’s a part of the building.”

Nearly a year in the making, the piece was installed in August.

“People spend more time on the staircases,” says Piper Hall of Dickstein Shapiro.

This isn’t the firm’s first brush with the art world. It works with DC’s Duke Ellington School to provide scholarships for students. In addition to the big Gilliam piece, the office also houses a glass sculpture by Seattle’s Danny Perkins and a sunburst-shaped sculpture made of beeswax by Washington native Mary Early.

Dickstein partners won’t say what they spent on the artwork, but money hasn’t been a problem for this firm. Partner profits have been averaging more than $1 million each for the last five years, and in one of those good years, profits per partner were the highest in Washington at $1.9 million each.

—with Melissa Herald

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