The potentially permanent location of Sphere 112 is still up in the air.
Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously on June 28 to refer the item back to the Arts Commission so they can evaluate other potential locations at parks and public spaces in the city for the sculpture.
Sphere 112, the steel sculpture that appears to be rolling down the grassy hill at the corner of San Miguel Drive and Avocado Avenue, was part of the first phase of the rotating sculpture exhibit.
The item proposes that the popular sculpture be purchased privately by the Newport Beach Arts Foundation at a cost of $15,000 and donated to the city for permanent installation in the civic center park. The annual maintenance costs, totaling approximately $250, would be paid out of a cultural arts account.
The Arts Commission considered and unanimously approved the idea on April 14. But the discussion wasn’t without debate. The main concern raised, and echoed when the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission also unanimously approved the item on June 7, was that making a sculpture a permanent piece in the garden defeats the purpose that it is meant to be a rotating exhibit.
Councilman Ed Selich pulled the item from the consent calendar and made the motion, agreeing with the previously raised concerns.
“I’m not opposed to the sculpture, per say, but I’d like to see more consideration given to the location,” Selich said. “I don’t believe this proposal is very well thought out.”
Councilman Scott Peotter suggested that the Arts Commission still include the current spot as a possibility.
It could be moved to another location, but not easily and likely at a cost to the city, noted Carmen Smith, president of the foundation.
It has already once been re-constructed and re-installed with a firmer base (at the artist’s own cost), Smith said. The original showed evidence of oxidization so it was created a new piece out of marine grade stainless steel.
“I just don’t think it will hurt to refer this back to the Arts Commission and have them take another look at it,” Selich said. “The sculpture isn’t going anywhere… If they come back and say ‘It should stay there,’ then so be it.”