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Light Gate was dedicated on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 on 14th Street and Highland Avenue with an artist presentation by Mags Harries and Lajos Héder in the Police/Fire Conference Room (420 15th Street).
Light Gate is located at the top of 14th Street, between City Hall and the new library, along Highland Avenue. The artwork is made of glass, laminated with prismatic lighting film that will create rich and varied light effects with the sun. Light Gate will focus the view through an opening down 14th Street to the Ocean. Each January 27th and November 14th, the sunset will align within the keyhole.
It will be a place of constantly shifting light and view, more than a solid object. It will put the visitor in the center of this important nexus. As you move around and through the sculpture, it will shift unexpectedly from transparency, to prismatic refraction, to mirror reflection. The glass and steel construction playing with the sunlight will harmonize with the crystalline glass architecture of the new library.
Overview of process
The Purpose of the Centennial Art Project is to create an exceptional visual experience for locals and visitors, while celebrating the City’s past and inspire future generations. The project also aims to foster community dialogues reflecting the dynamics of art, audience and context.
In July 2012, the City of Manhattan Beach presented an opportunity to professional artists or artist teams to submit their qualifications to the Art in Public Places Committee (APPC) for consideration to be selected to create a unique and iconic artwork in celebration of the City’s Centennial year. The purpose of the project is to create an exceptional visual experience for locals and visitors, commemorate the City’s past, and inspire future generations. The artist’s commission for the project is $130,000, using the City’s Public Art Trust Fund, and the selected artwork will be on permanent display at a prominent location in Manhattan Beach.
“Successful visual art in a community can foster discussion, celebrate a city’s unique culture, engage and inspire the mind and senses, and anchor a key community place,” said Mayor Wayne Powell.
The City received 150 submissions from across the country. The APPC, comprised of the Cultural Arts Commissioners and community members reviewed the applications for the Centennial Art Project and ultimately invited five artists to submit proposals for consideration. On November 13, 2012, the artists presented their proposals to the APPC and the public. The APPC ultimately selected the artist team, Harries Heder’s Light Gate, to recommend to Council for approval. The City of Manhattan Beach Cultural Arts Department is pleased to share these artists’ proposals with the community.
A request for qualifications (RFQ) was released to the public in July 2012. Finalists were selected upon meeting the following criteria outlined in the RFQ: Strength of past artwork(s) with an emphasis on artwork in a public setting; and experience fabricating and installing permanent artwork on time and on budget.
The Project Goals defined by the APPC include:
- Foster community discussion;
- Celebrate our unique community and culture;
- Engage and inspire the mind and senses; and
- Anchor a key community place.
On August 14, 2012, finalists were determined through a series of four rounds of evaluations. Round one included all APPC members selecting their top 10 artists based on the criteria and project goals established in the RFQ. This round ended with a total of 37 artists. Round two continued with a discussion of the artist’s strengths and APPC members nominated artists they felt were qualified for further discussion. Round 2 ended with 20 artists. During Round three the APPC sustained a discussion of the individual artist’s strengths and weaknesses. The APPC nominated artists who were most qualified and embodied the characteristics to design a piece for Manhattan Beach. At the conclusion of this round the committee was able to refine the artist finalists to 12. The final round included an in depth discussion of the top 12 artists and focused on the artists’ body of work, resume, budgets of past work, proven experience engaging communities, and the narrative quality of their individual artworks. After heavy deliberation and consideration, the APPC selected five artists to develop proposals for the Centennial Art Project.
On September 14, 2012, the Cultural Arts Staff led the artist finalists on a tour of significant city sites including the Manhattan Beach Historical Society, Polliwog Park, Metlox area, Civic Plaza, Manhattan Beach Boulevard, Ardmore/Valley Drive, Veterans Parkway, and the Manhattan Beach Pier. Later that day the artists met with the APPC so they could ask questions about the City and its history. No direct guidance or opinions were given as to influence the artists towards any direction, style or medium for their potential projects by the Commission, APPC members, City staff, or the public. Chris Miller, photographer for the Beach Reporter, presented a collage of photos of past Manhattan Beach events. She shared her personal history of growing up in a neighboring beach city community, answered questions regarding the past demographics of the City, and shared unique historical events that may be of interest to the artists.
Finalists were invited to present their proposals to the APPC and the public on November 13, 2012. Each artist developed a conceptual design presentation to include drawings, models, images and/or computer renderings; location of the artwork, site plan; general size and scale of artwork; physical properties of artwork; project narrative; desired impact of the artwork; relationship to project goals; public access to artwork; physical properties of artwork; potential materials and methods; and potential relationships and connections to other sites. Artists were each given 45 minutes with the APPC to present their ideas and field questions from the Committee and community (20 min. presentation; 5 min. comments from public; 15 min. Q&A with Committee; and 5 min. set-up). At the conclusion of all the presentations, the public was permitted to comment and reflect on all of the proposals. The APPC deliberated for two hours weighing the pros and cons of each proposal.
Only one proposal embodied all of the qualities the Committee was seeking for the Centennial Art Project -- Timeless Design, Minimal Maintenance, Open for Personal Interpretation, Representative of the Community, and Significant Enough to Commemorate the City’s Centennial. Artist Team, Harries Heder’s Light Gate, embodies all of these qualities and was selected by the APPC as the proposal which they will recommend to City Council for approval.
Art in Public Places Committee
|Cultural Arts Commission||Commissioner Russ Samuels, Chair
Commissioner Nancy Humbarger, Vice Chair
Commissioner Nancy Dunn
Commissioner Peter De Maria
Commissioner James Gill
|Community Members||Lynn Haggard, Artist, Manhattan Beach
Jeanne Jackson, Artist, Manhattan Beach
Jim Murray, Artist, Manhattan Beach
Marc Pally, Artist, Public Art Consultant, Los Angeles
||Richard Gill, Parks and Recreation Director
Gina Allen, Recreation Manager
Megumi Sando Moisen, Acting Cultural Arts Manager
Rebecca Ansert, Public Art Consultant
|July 18, 2012||Centennial Art Project Request for Qualifications (RFQ) released to public.|
|August 3, 2012||Request for qualifications (RFQ) deadline.|
|August 14, 2012||Art in Public Places Committee (APPC) selection of finalists for the Centennial Art Project.|
|September 14, 2012||City Staff tours Manhattan Beach with the five finalists selected for the Centennial Art Project.
APPC meets with the artist finalists to answer questions about the City’s history.
|November 13, 2012
||Finalists present proposals to the APPC for evaluation.
APPC motions to recommend Harries Heder team to City Council.
|December 2012||Public Art Consultant, Rebecca Ansert, to present APPC recommendation to City Council|
The Art in Public Places Committee’s Choice for the Centennial Art Project
|Mags Harries and Lajos Heder|
Materials: Stainless Steel, Prismatic Film, Glass
The Manhattan Beach Centennial Celebration is at an important junction for the community to assess its past and anticipate its growth and change for its future. Visiting, we were struck by the challenge to find a site and a form that can act as a focal point, a fulcrum, for this transition.
Mags Harries and Lajos Héder formed Harries/Héder Collaborative in Cambridge, MA in 1990 and have worked together on over 25 major public commissions since then. We came to this collaboration from the different worlds of art and architecture. Mags brought her experience as a sculptor, teacher, and previous work creating public art. Lajos, besides being an artist, was trained as an architect and has worked on community projects, urban design, site planning, architecture, and construction. Our focus, however, is the same: to activate public space through art. For each project we collaborate fully in the development of our designs and ideas, drawing on our separate skills and areas of expertise. We create public places that have on-going practical use as well as strong metaphoric significance. We focus on water, energy, transportation and other physical and performance elements that connect people and communities. Our work has been recognized for many local and national awards. We attribute a large part of this success to partnership with community members, engineers, landscape architects, architects, and other artists.
Mags Harries’ public art projects have received national recognition and have won many awards. She observes the small things that, like DNA, reveal all that is important to know about a place. She uses surprise and sometimes humor to energize public places and communities. Her early projects Asaroton and Glove Cycle have become icons of the Boston area. Mags frequently designs her work with landscape materials and responds to environmental issues. She has an increasing interest in water and city scale elements of infrastructure, pathways and connections. Many of her temporary projects involve community participation and social action, including: Winding Down the Charles, where the passersby helped to physically wind the length of the Charles River into a ball; Speed of Light, which she organized with her students to create a twenty-mile bicycle ride to bring attention to the planned new transportation ‘Urban Ring’ around Boston; and One Legged Table, an artwork which catalyzes dialogue on climate change.
Lajos Héder has spent his career designing and building public places for active community use. He believes that art derives from the specific place where it happens and from common interests in sunlight, water, sex, food, friendship, and stories, not so much from other art. Lajos’ strengths are the understanding of urban scale and activity; visualizing architectural spaces from drawings; and fitting art into the process of design and construction. Besides his public artwork he has designed many downtown pedestrian plans and six completed artists’ live/work communities. He was also the designer of prize-winning entries for two international competitions in his native Budapest, Hungary: the new National Theater in 1989 and Expo ’96 in 1990.
Lajos’ research and publications include the book Aesthetics in Transportation a guide book for public art and design, prepared for US DOT, and a draft Art Plan for Tucson, AZ. Since 1992 he has been a member of the Boston Society of Architects Focus Teams setting new public transportation and development patterns in the Boston Region and re-planning the waterfront. His recent public art work has focused on water related projects (WaterWorks at Arizona Falls, Zanjero’s Line), land development (Terra Fugit), alternative energy (SunFlowers an Electric Garden and Solar Light Raft) and other aspects of urban public space. He currently serves on the Public Art Network Council.