Council Approves Next Phase of Civic Center Park Sculptures

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Art selected for phase V of the Civic Center Park sculpture exhibition: (top row, left to right) “Window to the Sea” by Andra Broekelschen of Corona del Mar, “Link of Humanity” by Danette Landry, “Marble Shooter” by Ron Whitacre, “Dude Ascending” by Joe Forrest Sackett, and “Seated Diana” by Curt Brill; (bottom row, left to right) “Cosmo” by Roger Heitzman, “I’m Listening” by Monica Wyatt, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Patricia Vader, “Individuality n. 1” by ARTECLETTICA (Dominic Panziera and Daniela Garofalo), and “Fractured Peace” by Nancy Mooslin. (click to enlarge)
— Photos courtesy city of Newport Beach / various artists ©

Council members voted 7-0 on Tuesday to approve 10 new pieces of artwork for the rotating sculpture exhibition in the park. The sculptures will be on display for a two-year period, with installation commencing in May.

“Great cities, great societies, their art is a reflection of the people that built those great societies and great cities,” he said. “I think this is tremendous.”

Newport Beach is a city of culture and creativity, Mayor Pro Tem Brad Avery said. The sculpture exhibit is a wonderful use of the Civic Center Park, he added.

“We have a beautiful park out there,” Councilmember Diane Dixon agreed.

The city received a State of California Department of Parks and Recreation Local Assistance Specified Grant Funding in the amount of $500,000 for the Civic Center Park

Sculpture Exhibition, which will fully fund this project on a reimbursement basis.

Phase V project is budgeted at $141,436. The grant funds from the state will also cover

Phase VI and concrete repair and rehabilitation needs at the site.

The approved sculptures are: “Fractured Peace” by Nancy Mooslin of Los Angeles, a 500-pound oil on wood, treated with marine varnish; “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Patricia Vader from Martinez, a network of connected recycled bicycle wheels; “Dude Ascending” by Joe Forrest Sackett of Albuquerque, NM, painted steel of the silhouette of a man walking upward; “Cosmo” by Roger Heitzman from Scotts Valley, a 14.5-foot tall stainless steel sculpture with half-spherical pieces interconnected at the top; “Marble Shooter” by Ron Whitacre from Laguna Beach, a welded steel sculpture of an oversized hand holding a marble; “Individuality n. 1” by ARTECLETTICA (Dominic Panziera and Daniela Garofalo) from Truckee, a 5,500-pound metal, 12-feet tall by 14-feet wide, mosaic, paint abstract structure; “I’m Listening” by Monica Wyatt of Studio City, a small bronze figurative sculpture; “Seated Diana” by Curt Brill of Tucson, Ariz., a bronze figurative sculpture; “Window to the Sea” by Andra Broekelschen from Corona del Mar, a 66.5-inch tall by 22.5-inch wide oval made out of steel, local sea glass, handmade shells, tile, stained glass, mirror, and found materials; and “Link of Humanity” by Danette Landry of Napa, a 7-foot tall bronze structure that resembles chain links.

It’s noteworthy that Phase V has the more variety, in terms of style, than any other year, said Richard Stein, President and CEO of Arts OC, the company heading up the project for the city.

“Hurricane,” by Ray Katz, from phase IV of the rotating sculpture exhibition, in front of the Newport Beach Civic Center.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

It’s very impressive, Councilmember Jeff Herdman said.

“Another outstanding job, but even more extensive this year than it has been in year’s past, I think, in terms of breadth of the art and the art selection process,” Herdman said. “It truly is a jewel of our city.”

Councilmember Joy Brenner was glad to see the local artists. All but a couple of the artists are California-base, including one from Corona del Mar and one from Laguna Beach.

Arts Commission Chair Arlene Greer once again called the exhibit a “museum without walls,” a term that’s been echoed for several years about the sculpture garden.

“I just love that term, I think it really defines what happens out in the Civic Center (Park),” with the sculpture exhibition, Greer said.

The artwork is diverse, inspirational and influential, Greer commented.

At their Feb. 13 meeting, the City Arts Commission recommended 10 sculptures and three alternates for exhibition.

Since August 2013, Newport Beach has had a rotational sculpture exhibit in Civic Center Park. Pieces are loaned for a two-year period (or “phase”). Selected artists receive an honorarium to loan their work.

“The Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park is an integral feature of the Newport Beach Civic Center,” staff wrote in the report.

It’s an attraction for both locals and visitors, Stein agreed.

The city is responsible for installing the art, while sculptors are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their work.

“The city is able to exhibit a well-balanced representation of public art, with artistic merit, durability, practicality and site responsiveness as criteria in the selection of work,” the staff report reads. “The rotational nature of the exhibit ensures that residents and guests are exposed to a variety of work.

Newport Beach City Arts Commission, curatorial panelists, and members of the public tour the Civic Center Park in 2019 and discuss possible locations for the next set of artwork for the rotating sculpture exhibition.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

The project team includes Stein, Professor Joe Lewis, former Dean of the University of California, Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Nicholas Thurkettle, Program Assistant for Arts OC, and Cindy Frommelt of Display Inc., a company that specializes in art installation.

Providing additional input as a curatorial selection panel was David Michael Lee, director and curator of the Coastline Art Gallery, and Tyler Stallings, director of Orange Coast College’s Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion.

Works were considered for criteria: Artistic merit, durability, practicality, and site appropriateness.

In order to allow the public to help with the selection process, the Arts Commission conducted an online survey of the sculptures. The survey was sent to all library emails (20,000+), and a press release was run in local media. All 66 entries were included in the survey and participants were asked to choose their top three favorites which were all equally weighted. The results of the survey included 2,343 votes from 1,084 voters. In Phase IV, there were1,601 votes.

The City Arts Commission considered the top 15 works favored by the public for inclusion in the exhibition. However, four of the top 16 works were disqualified because of shipping costs and high honorarium requests.

The art will be delivered and installed over the next few weeks, Greer said.

The grand opening ceremony for phase V is scheduled for 1–4 p.m. on Jun 6.

“Opening day promises to be exciting,” Greer said.

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