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Council to vote on Broadway beautification artwork

The $700,000 project includes renovated sidewalks, landscaping, irrigation. Sculptures are also part of it.

July 05, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • Sculptures by Cheryl Ekstrom are possibly going to be approved by the City Council on July 17 as part of the Broadway beautification plan.
Sculptures by Cheryl Ekstrom are possibly going to be… (Courtesy Eric Minh…)

Art is a component of the Broadway Street improvements designed to beautify the portal that connects the city to the canyon.

The $700,000 project includes renovated sidewalks, landscaping and irrigation, and is partially funded by a $480,000 grant. Sculptures by Cheryl Ekstrom and Marsh Scott will beautify it, if the City Council approves the Arts Commission's recommendations at the July 17 meeting.

"This is the first time I have ever won," Ekstrom said. "I felt like Susan Lucci."

Ekstrom's art can been seen throughout town. Two of Ekstrom's pieces are currently at Montage Resort and Spa, which chose her work as part of its obligation to provide public art as a condition of construction.

Ekstrom's work can also be seen at Jahraus Park, which has one her 20 "Warriors Against Angst" that she created to assuage her grief at the death of her mother and her brother in 1996.

"Each of the warriors represented a different emotion — sadness, defeat, strength to go on," Ekstrom said. "I was obsessed and completed all 20 in six months. All of my work comes from within."

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It was the warriors that brought Ekstrom's work to a widespread audience when they were first displayed at Diane Nelson Fine Art.

"It took a lot of guts for Diane to show work that people in Laguna might not find comfortable," Ekstrom said. "I will always be grateful to her."

The warriors were later carted by volunteers up to Moulton Meadows, where a crowd kept an overnight vigil.

"Those warriors have a life of their own that keeps evolving," she said.

The latest evolution is the "Warriors United," a tribute to the unquenchable spirit of Laguna, which unites to overcome adversity, Ekstrom said. They will stand guard in a space at Broadway and Acacia Street, designed by landscape architect Bob Borthwick.

Meanwhile, Scott's undulating, colorful glass and steel sculpture will serve as a handrail along the creek that runs down Broadway, wending its way to the ocean. The proposed "Colors of the Canyon" is more than 70 feet long and mostly 48 inches wide.

"Her piece is an iconic transition from the canyon," said Sian Poeschl, cultural arts manager.

Scott is a painter as well as a sculptor. She is an exhibitor at the Sawdust Art Festival, but currently is on a leave of absence. Scott has two other public art pieces in town, is a winner of the city's banner competition, and she was named the 2010 "Artist of the Year" by the Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts.

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