Works of Public Art
4 Local Masterpieces...and the Stories Behind Them
Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
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Public art is a delicate balance of artistic expression – harmonizing the need of the community with the voice of the artist – in hopes the end result will express an idea of who we are.
You. Us. But it needs you to notice it. Next time you’re wandering around town, take the time to observe or even spend some time with the public art. “We don’t know where it is!” you might cry. “Don’t cry,” we say. “Come with us, and we’ll show you.”
Every piece of public art has a story. Some of the artists and contributors behind some of our most renowned pieces of public art granted us the pleasure of sharing the stories behind their creations. Welcome to “Public Art Appreciation 101.” But the greatest secret to appreciating public art is you really don’t need the “why” for it to come alive. Like any masterpiece, all it really needs is you. (We just blew your mind, didn’t we?)
Roseville Sculpture Park
At Roseville’s Sculpture Park, beneath the massive red Cosmos sculpture, which marks the trailhead for Miner’s Ravine Trail, four concrete pedestals emblazoned with colorful mosaics stand. From 2001 to 2010 these pedestals displayed bronze plaques created by local third and fourth graders, but in 2010 the pedestals were vandalized and 33 of the beloved plaques stolen.
Thanks to a joint undertaking by the City of Roseville, Blue Line Gallery – Roseville Arts, and the Boy Scouts of America, the pedestals have been revived for the community with new, bright mosaics. “We decided that a mosaic project would be appropriate because it’s colorful, it enhances the space, and it’s a nice art project,” says Julie Hirota with Blue Line Gallery – Roseville Arts. The project was initiated by Hirota and an eager 13-year-old Eagle Scout named Tyler Tate, who might best be described as a force of nature. An idea quickly became reality with Tate calling on any school willing to accept his request for student participation and promotion of the project, arranging for donations of mosaic tile, and coordinating with businesses, community partners, children and Boy Scouts throughout the entire project.
Local children submitted 220 mosaic tiles, which were narrowed down to 96 – with the help of the original jurors for the bronze plaque project, along with community partners and Mayor Pauline Roccucci. Tate and Hirota coordinated four workshops where the student finalists constructed their mosaics, and in May 2012 the mosaics were installed with the help of a local professional concrete mason.
Says Hirota, “Tyler Tate did a remarkable job leading the children and the Boy Scouts. It was just really a remarkable effort by a community partner, the Boy Scouts of America, a non-profit agency (Blue Line Gallery – Roseville Arts) and the City of Roseville; all coming together to collaborate on a public art project.”
A dedication plaque showing all the children’s names, plus Tyler Tate’s, and all of the City and community partners, should be installed sometime soon. Says Hirota, “Now that it’s all up there, we get tremendous feedback. It’s something the community is going to have for a really long time.”