Newest public art sculpture inspires to ‘imagine’

Australian artist Emma Anna at the unveiling ceremony of her sculpture entitled "Imag_ne" on permanent display at the Valencia Library in Valencia on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Most artworks limit you at simply starring from a distance, but the newest public art sculpture in Santa Clarita allows art aficionados to be a part of the piece.

On Wednesday, the City Council unveiled “Imag_ne,” a 3-foot-tall collection of oversized Scrabble-like tiles that spell out the word “imagine” but purposefully missing the second “i.” The gap is an invitation for people to stand in the blank space and complete the word.

The new piece, now part of more than 30 other public art installations across the city, is installed in front of the Valencia Library, located at 24743 W. Valencia Blvd.

The budget for the sculpture was $30,000, according to Phil Lantis, administrator with the city’s Arts and Events department.

Artist Emma Anna, who flew from Australia for the unveiling ceremony, said she hopes the sculpture “will inspire you and inspire your community and just encourage people to use their imagination, to remember that we all have an imagination.”  

From left, City of Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean, Australian artist Emma Anna, SCV City Councilmember Laureen Weste and City of Santa Clarita Arts Commission Chairperson Patti Rasmussen unveil Anna’s sculpture entitled “Imag_ne” at the Valencia Library in Valencia on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The concept behind “Imag_ne” stems from a project to support Anna’s work toward a Master’s in Public Art at RMIT University in Melbourne after she decided to quit her job as a communications manager.

Anna said she had a collage version of the sculpture made of actual Scrabble letters in her cubicle that served as “a doorway into my future” as an artist.  

A friend encouraged her to propose the concept for “Sculpture by the Sea,” Australia’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition, to which it was accepted, she said.

Since then, the art piece has traveled worldwide “including Denmark, Florida and now right here in Santa Clarita. Our ‘Imag_ne’ sculpture is the only one of its kind in the western United States,” said Mayor Marsha McLean at the ceremony.

“Part of our Arts Master Plan and the role of our Arts Commission is to ensure that public art is readily available to inspire everyone within our community,” she added.

To find other public art pieces around Santa Clarita, visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

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Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga covers city hall and business for The Signal. She joined in the summer of 2018, previously working in Northern California as an assistant editor and reporter for the Lake County Record-Bee. In 2016, she graduated from Mount Saint Mary's University, Los Angeles. Have a story tip? Message her on Twitter or at [email protected]