For four decades, they soared above the bustle of Fashion Island, legs gracefully curving upward, outstretched arms passing batons.
The “Skydivers” sculpture by Aris Demetrios was dismantled and removed as part of the retail center’s remodel last year, but the three figures may soar again in Newport Beach if the City Council accepts the artwork as a donation from the Irvine Co.
The city Arts Commission recommended such a move at its meeting this week, on a 5-0 vote with two commissioners absent.
But there’s a rub. Two, actually.
One is that the city has not identified a suitable site for the artwork. The second is that the cost to move and re-install the sculpture is estimated at well over $100,000.
“Those are good points,” said Arts Commissioner Chris Trela this week.
But, he said, the commissioners decided that accepting the statue, which is in crates now, and storing it at a city warehouse would carry a minimal cost while the city decides what to do with it.
“We didn’t want to lose our chance,” said Trela. “It’s a significant icon – it’s been at Fashion Island since the ’60s. … It’s definitely a significant part of Newport Beach’s history.”
Trela said the commission will recommend to the City Council that the commission and city staff continue to work on where to place the statue, perhaps as part of a future project in the city.