The long-planned but much-delayed public art project for the city’s new Civic Center Park appears to be back on track.
According to a press release issued by Arts Orange County, the nonprofit arts agency for the county, the organization has entered into an agreement with the City of Newport Beach to manage the planning, selection and installation of 10 works of public art that will be exhibited on a temporary basis throughout the 14-acre park.
ArtsOC will be assisted by Los Angeles-based Green Public Art in curating and installing the exhibition, which will be comprised of temporary loans of works by artists selected through an open call (to be announced soon), through referrals by museum and gallery curators, and juried by a panel that will include independent experts as well as members of the City’s Arts Commission.
Recommendations will be reviewed by the Newport Beach City Council, which has the responsibility for their final approval.
The target date for completing the installation is September 2014. The artwork will be displayed for two years.
According to the contract that was signed by ArtsOC and city of Newport Beach earlier this month, ArtsOC will receive $118,730. Of that, a total of $50,000 is earmarked for artist’s honorariums. Site preparation, including concrete bases, is allocated $12,750. Installation of the first 10 sculptures is expected to cost $18,980. ArtsOC’s consultant fee is $32,000, which includes project management and curator. $5,000 is set aside for contingency.
Pending evaluation of the success of the first phase and additional funding, another 10 sculptures are planned to be installed during the second year of the exhibit. Each phase of sculptures will be displayed for two years.
Among ArtsOC’s many responsibilities as stated in the contract: manage the Call for Entries, provide an Art Conservator, provide an honorarium of $250 to the artists and conservator (three total) selected to serve on the sculpture selection panel, facilitate site preparation, installation and de-installation of sculptures, provide concrete bases for artworks, and provide docent training.
Approval of artworks for phase one is expected by the end of March, 2014. Artwork will be delivered to the city next August, with a planned exhibition opening in September.
“As the County’s officially designated nonprofit arts agency, Arts Orange County actively promotes the incorporation of art into public and private settings, and provides its expertise whenever possible to ensure that the highest aspirations for these projects are fulfilled and best practices are followed. ArtsOC greatly looks forward to helping the City of Newport Beach realize its vision of enhancing the experience of visiting Civic Center Park through its new sculpture exhibition project,” said Richard Stein, executive director of Arts Orange County, in the press release.
Civic Center Park was designed by renowned landscape architectural firm Peter Walker and Partners, and includes elements for both active and passive park users. Walker’s company developed a master plan for art in the park, and identified various spots in the park where art, particularly sculpture, could be exhibited.
Several years ago, a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Orange County Museum of Art to help identify and secure funding for artworks in the Civic Center Park prior to the park’s opening earlier this year did not provide tangible results.
No word on what, if anything, will happen to the white rabbit statues now in the park.