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Locals Win Commission for Heisler Sculpture Garden

“Time Connected,” one of three public art sculptures the Schoenherr’s propose for a Heisler Park installation.

The suspense over which artist team would be chosen to create a sculpture series for Heisler Park ended with a unanimous vote by the Arts Commission to award the $100,000 project to local artists Naomi and Scott Schoenherr last week.

To the couple, however, the suspense won’t truly end until the City Council sanctions their selection at its March 1 meeting.

The couple was selected from four finalists after presenting their proposals accompanied by maquettes, scale plans and answering questions about durability, a vital issue given the popular seaside location and constant exposure to curious onlookers.

The previous month, the commission viewed slides and statements by 42 artists competing to design a sculpture garden in a 23 by 54 foot area, roughly located near a long-closed shuffleboard court. The requirements called for submissions from California residents and work based on Shelley Cooper’s poem “Sparkle (Giggle Crack).”

Artists had to also factor in existing pathways and created seating arrangements. Sculptures could not be taller than six feet.

The Laguna residents presented their concept for three sculptures titled “Time Connected,” ”Continuous Rotation,” and “Tidal Pull” which they described as vignettes of memories.

“All four finalists were visionary and talented artists. This time it was not a competition that brought about the same kind of art. Each entry was highly unique,” said council member Pat Kollenda.

“We knew it was a huge thing for the city and were nervous going into it. There are so many elements to consider: The area’s natural history, the ocean and sun as backdrops, the passage of time,” said Scott Schoenherr. “It’s not something like a monument but a creation that reflects the reasons why people come here.” “We wanted to show how we thought about the cycles of the environment and also about how people experience art,” added Naomi.

“Time Connected” shows interlocking wheels filled in with ceramic tiles showing images of local plants and insects. “The Tidal Pull,” will be centered on stainless steel fish textured and patinaed to show scales, fins and eyes and the fish will appear to swim in circular motions, even under some of the benches. “Continuous Rotation” will be crafted from natural stone and tiles glazed with a ripple pattern replicating the flow of water.

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