After two years of planning, the city of Santa Clarita unveiled “California Scape,” the latest public art project, Thursday at Fair Oaks Park in Canyon Country.
“The inspiration for ‘California Scape’ was drawn from the larger Santa Clarita landscape that we know and love here in our community,” Mayor Cameron Smyth said, as he introduced the piece.
Members of the Santa Clarita City Council were joined by art commissioners, city staff and one of the artists to celebrate the project’s release, which began as part of the 2018 Arts Commission’s work plan and public art proposal.
“Through their efforts and evaluation, the art selection committee determined that the newest public art piece theme would be ‘reflection,’ relating to meditative and contemplative calm that comes from being in nature,” Smyth added.
It was Forma Studio, a group of three California-based artists — Karen Kitayama, Sixto Cordero and Luisel Zayas — that was chosen to complete the project.
“We all know how important outdoor space is for our well-being, and we hope that our work will help to add a space of peaceful meditation to this park, a place to really reflect on nature and its healing effects,” said Kitayama, who attended the event. “Given today’s circumstances, we really think that this is a timely piece that speaks to nature’s importance and the crucial role that parks and outdoor spaces play in the lives of our communities.”
The stone sculpture features a round cutout in its center, allowing for a Chinese flame tree to grow within it, and was designed to become an extension of the natural landscape of the SCV.
“Those visiting the park can retreat from the stresses of daily life by lounging in its chase-like curves while looking up at the tree’s growing canopy, as it slowly matures,” Kitayama added. “Over time, the tree will provide shade over the sculpture and create a nice place of peaceful contemplation.”
For Kitayama, the culmination of this project is like a dream come true.
“You start your designs on the computer and hand sketching, but seeing it come to life is a whole different experience,” she said.
Now, she hopes the sculpture will become an active part of its surroundings.
“We really feel like this sculpture can contribute in a positive way to our community,” Kitayama said. “We hope to bring people outside to really experience the calming effects of this park.”
Fair Oaks Park is located at 17468 Honey Maple St. in Canyon Country.