Sphere 112 Finds Permanent Home in Civic Center

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(left to right) Artist Ivan McLean, Newport Beach City Councilwoman Diane Dixon, NB Arts Foundation President Carmen Smith, and City Councilman Jeff Herdman pose for a photo in front of the Sphere 112 at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday. — Photo by Christopher Trela ©
(left to right) Artist Ivan McLean, Newport Beach City Councilwoman Diane Dixon, NB Arts Foundation President Carmen Smith, and City Councilman Jeff Herdman pose for a photo in front of the Sphere 112 at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday.
— Photo by Christopher Trela ©

The sun wasn’t the only thing shining on Tuesday morning. Sphere 112, the popular steel sculpture at the corner of San Miguel and Avocado in the Civic Center Park, was officially dedicated as a permanent exhibit in the city’s Sculpture Exhibition.

Purchased last year by the Newport Beach Arts Foundation, Sphere 112 was chosen by residents as the favorite piece during the Inaugural Sculpture Exhibition in September 2014. Its popularity compelled the NBAF to buy it, Foundation President Carmen Smith told the audience of about 40 city staff and dignitaries who gathered for the dedication.

“Look around and admire this place,” Smith said of the picturesque park. “This city is known not just for bunnies, or for cows,” she said, referring to the resident rabbit sculptures and the “Cows 4 Camp” exhibit that is now in the park. “It is known for art.”

Artist Ivan McLean, creator of Sphere 112, addressed the attendees, along with councilwoman Diane Dixon. After thanking the volunteers, foundation, and city Arts Commission, Dixon recalled the first days of the sculpture garden, when she was just running for city council.

“Little did I know that I would standing here today,” she remarked.

Councilman Jeff Herdman performed the official dedication, as Smith, Dixon, and McLean joined him for the unveiling of a plaque that commemorates the occasion.

Visitors to the park will note that the date on the plaque does not reflect the date of the ceremony. February 14, 2017 is the date engraved on the plaque; the date that city council voted to accept the piece into their inventory.

Former mayors Keith Curry and Steve Rosansky (now CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce) were on hand, as were past and present Arts Commissioners.

Former commissioners Robert Smith (husband of Carmen Smith) and Christopher Trela, (editor of the NB Indy) reminisced about the design of the Civic Center Park and the early days of presenting sculpture exhibition concepts to the city council.

“This sculpture, and the exhibition in this park, would not exist if not for these gentlemen,” noted Robyn Grant, a former Arts Commissioner and currently a Civil Service Board member. “They co-created the Arts in Public Places Ad Hoc Subcommittee back in 2010.”

Smith recalled when the first call for submissions brought in 175 works of art to consider, and only 10 could be chosen. Now in Phase II, the Arts Commission is finalizing the selections for Phase III (the sculptures are rotated out every two years). However, Sphere 112 is the first piece of artwork to permanently stay in the park.  

“The fun thing about art,” Robert Smith noted under a blue sky, “is that it doesn’t have to be in a museum.”

For more information, visit newportbeachartsfoundation.org/

A guest checks out Ivan Mclean’s Sphere 112. — Photo by Sara Hall ©
A guest checks out Ivan Mclean’s Sphere 112 when it was first installed in 2014.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©
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