I saw that the Arts Commission had recently approved the “art piece” at the newly finished Village Entrance and was shocked. To place this at the Village Entrance after a long community planning process, with never a mention of a very significant addition to the site, seems nothing more than a bait and switch. Any piece of this size and scale should have been concurrently developed though the entire plan and not placed there after the fact. This would include spending more money to install the piece and ripping up newly placed trees, paving, etc. That is a waste of our tax dollars. Also, who will pay for the cost of the upkeep and repair when the structure starts to degrade? And the suggestion that it might be a lovely place for poetry readings is really a hoot—with cars rushing by?
So, I attended the Monday night meeting of the Arts Commission. I was pleased to see that they had spoken to the artist about the public concern of the scale and the color of the piece. But I am not quite sure that we’ve been heard. There was no one who spoke in favor of the project, but after the testimony, the commissioners said they had received many favorable comments about the piece. Yet not a one came to the meeting. We were also condescendingly told by an architect that buildings are rectilinear and have walls. Well, I give the point on the walls, but talk to Frank Gehry about building shapes.
I really have questions about an Arts Commission who would have conceived of such a piece in the first place. Current design looks like a Cirque de Soleil tent. The height, scale and color are all so inappropriate. And as someone asked, is this the icon that we want Laguna Beach to be known for? There are a few other pieces of art around town that I also wonder how they got through the approval process. This project should be rethought in every which way, if not just abandoned. Let the new Village Entrance be. Let the trees there grow and it will be perfect.
Anne Earhart, Laguna Beach