Letter: Pavilion Art Sculpture Not Worth the Costs

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The following is an email I sent to the City Council and the Arts Commission:

I hope you will give serious consideration to the costs (wasted money for installation as well as demolition) for removing recently installed landscaping between the existing parking lot and the vehicular bridge to accommodate the massive proposed Pavilion Art Sculpture by Marc Fornes.

The Fornes project requires the removal of approximately 12 native and specimen trees, shrubs, irrigation, decomposed granite pathways, lighting, decorative bike racks, concrete benches, huge decorative boulders, undergrounding, drainage, etc. This seems to be a shameful and unnecessary misuse of public funds.

To date the public has not heard of the cost estimates for the actual building and installation of this art piece. Since it is basically a building without walls, we all know it will be very expensive to construct, let alone the cost of seating, the big screen monitor, and goodness knows what else to be factored in. We have heard that the Arts Commission has budgeted approximately $1 million for this project. Architects and others in the community have suggested that it could be double that cost (or more) due to the construction materials and techniques required. Shouldn’t a cost estimate, a completed budget, be immediately prepared before more money is spent to “tweak” the design? And what about the cost of maintenance down the road for this building?

I think the existing bicycle rack is an unexpected piece of artwork itself—a slinky bike rack. To remove this would be such a shame, and wouldn’t it require city review and approval before being removed?

Finally, isn’t it irresponsible of the Arts Commission to propose this very expensive piece of artwork after the Village Entrance has already been constructed and without coordinating with the city’s original Village Entrance plans?

Anne Caenn, Laguna Beach


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