“It is the commission’s job to look at the quality of the art and to make sure the criteria are being met and to make recommendations, but it is the job of the council to make the decision, based on our review of the initial criteria, public reaction and the suitability of the art to the site,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Schneider said. “The commission is an advisory board, and we can accept or reject their recommendation.”
Opposition to the selected artworks has come from a former mayor — a landscape architect who designed the remodeled Bluebird Park — and another landscape architect who advised the city on landscaping for the senior center.
Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick think the council should look further than the single recommendations of the arts panel for the sites.
Models on view
Ten proposals were submitted for the center and seven for the park gate. The commission elected to submit only one proposal for each of the sites to the council. The Seeman proposal includes, as did all the submittals for the center, three components: a sculpture, a bench and a mural.
Models of the center’s five finalists were displayed in the City Council Chambers from Feb. 4 to 11, when the commission made its choice.
The council has asked to have the models returned to the council chamber this weekend for them to take a private look. The models will be exhibited through March 4.
Christoph is not fond of the choice made for the center because she doesn’t see how they speak to the site.
Site-specific pieces, as opposed to “plop art,” are a goal of the commission. Commissioner Terry Smith saw the site as broader than just the center.
“I looked at each submittal at least three times, and Seeman’s pieces were so Laguna and so cohesive,” Smith said. “I wanted the art to be timeless, and I didn’t think some of the very abstract pieces were as successful.
Even more than the art or the process, the impact of the art on the site’s landscaping is a major concern for Christoph.