Intriguing Sculptures Appear Downtown

Claire Marvin, Columns and Reviews Editor

While Orinda residents have been accustomed to seeing vibrant and modern sculptures and other works of art surrounding the Community Center, many have recently been  surprised to see similar pieces scattered around the streets of downtown Orinda.

“The city had received requests from various residents to expand the Art in Public Places program beyond the Library and Community Center for a number of years. The City Council approved the change to the policy, allowing placement of art in areas around Orinda that are owned by the city or that are in the public right of way,” Director of Orinda Parks and Recreation Michelle Lacy said.

Various local artists around the Bay Area create the sculptures. These artists send applications to the City of Orinda in hopes that their artwork will be chosen to go on display. The artists do not receive compensation for their pieces; however, because the City displays the artwork on loan. The Art in Public Places Committee (APPC) reviews applications every fall for the next year, then sends its recommendations to the City Council, which then approves the artwork and places the sculptures around the town. “The APPC members look for interested artists and suitable art pieces throughout the year and encourage artists to apply,” Lacy said. The APPC has to keep in mind the scale of the pieces, because there is a minimum size for pieces eligible to be considered for public display. Some of the pieces are permanent additions to the town, for example the peacock arch near the library, while others will rotate every few years.

Miramonte students’ opinions regarding the new art vary greatly. On the more negative end of the spectrum is freshman Holly Melohn: “I think that the new sculptures are a waste of time and space. They’re just weird,” Melohn said.

Fellow Freshman Jimmy Ricksen, however, is a fan of the new art. “I really like that one sculpture of the man across from the Orinda theater. That guy is really cool,” Ricksen said.