Art in high places

New public art work approved for El Camino site

The building hasn't even been built yet, but the Public Art Commission has approved a work of art to adorn its side. The current Olive Garden restaurant at 2515/2585 El Camino Real, just two blocks from California Avenue, is slated to be demolished and replaced with a three-story, mixed-use building designed by The Hayes Group Architects that will include both condominiums and commercial space. The project has completed site and design review and will soon go before the Planning and Transportation Commission and the Architectural Review Board. The developer, ECRPA, LLC, considered 17 potential artists before selecting Rob Ley to design and build a 3-D wall hanging for the new site.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, the Public Art Commission heard a proposal from Ley, a Los Angeles-based artist and founder of the public art studio, Urbana. Ley's previous public art projects include "May-September," a large-scale display of metal panels at the Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, and "Lumenscape," a permanent installation of undulating acrylic waves illuminated with LED lights, located at the corner of Wiltshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Los Angeles.

"Emergence," the work approved by the Public Art Commission, will be smaller in scale, measuring just 8 by 12 feet. Clearly visible from Sherman Street, it will consist of metal panels that will emerge from the facade of the building's second story. Painted in hues of blue and green, the panels will seem to change color as the viewer moves beneath them and as the lighting shifts, from natural daylight to artificial illumination at night. The total budget for the work, $100,000, will be paid by the developer.

This is the city's sixth public art work approved as part of the Percent for Art in Private Development program, under which developers are required to install art or contribute to the city's public art fund.

Commissioners praised the work's combination of mathematical precision and organic effect, referring to it as "flowing" and "well-suited to the site."

The full staff report to the Public Art Commission is available online.

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