Santa Clarita City Council members plan to discuss the Newhall Roundabout’s planned art centerpiece at their meeting Tuesday.
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“I think it’s incumbent upon the Council,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar. “We need to weigh in a little bit on the perspective that we get from the community and give more direction to the Arts Commission.”
A pair of public commenters both jeered the final two suggestions that the Arts Commission came up with, which were scheduled for a vote, with decision to be given to the City Council for approval at the council’s Oct. 8 meeting.
One of the commenters, echoing sentiments stated on a blog, compared a domed art piece to a “bug zapper,” and a film reel was described as a “worm.”
The Newhall Roundabout Art Project involves implementing a public art piece that will be the focal point at the intersection of Main Street, Newhall Avenue and Fifth Street.
The final two choices were a sculpture of a film strip, and a Tataviam structure, which was an homage to the area’s Native American roots.
Michael Clapper’s “Western Reel” is a film strip sculpture commemorating Santa Clarita’s history of serving as a backlot for Western films, such as Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch in Newhall.
Artist M.L. Duffy said his piece “Facing the Sun, Facing the Future” is an adage to Santa Clarita’s past and future and draws its influences from Newhall’s first residents, the Tataviam indian tribe in 450 AD.
The city was looking to spend around $45,000 for a piece of artwork that would be a centerpiece for the Newhall roundabout.
“A change in the scope of the art project can increase the cost of the artwork, as well as other costs associated with the infrastructure improvements,” according to city documents.
Kellar, taking a cue from a recent Teresa Todd editorial, suggested taking a look at giving homage to William S. Hart or Henry Mayo Newhall, since the art piece would be in downtown Newhall, right by Hart Park.
City Councilman TimBen Boydston suggested that the process be started over from scratch.
“The good thing about this whole controversy is that art is supposed to generate conversation and interest and this is certainly doing that,” Boydston said.
He also questioned whether the center of a roundabout is the best place to put a piece of art that catches the eye, suggesting a Christmas tree the city could decorate as a possible replacement.
“I think we need to go back to the drawing board,” Boydston said. “The overriding opinion is that something better should be there.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News