The city of Santa Clarita’s Artist Selection Committee recommended the proposed artist for the civic art project at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Thursday to the city’s Arts Commission.
On May 28, 2019, the Santa Clarita City Council approved the construction of the new SCV Sheriff’s Station, and at that time the funding was appropriated for the design, construction and installation of civic artwork in accordance with the city’s Civic Art Policy.
An artist selection committee was formed consisting of Arts Commissioner Patti Rasmussen, Same Lee as an arts expert, Allison Porterfield as a professional arts administrator, Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski as a local professional artist and sheriff’s Capt. Justin Diez as a community member.
“I am proud to have been involved with the artist selection committee for this project,” said Diez. “When people come into the lobby of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, they could be facing a very difficult time in their life. The committee wanted to select a piece that was welcoming and comforting to visitors.”
The applications were evaluated based on criteria such as consideration of site specificity, visual impact, creativity and strength of the artist’s past completed work.
Four semi-finalists were selected out of 61 submissions. The four were interviewed in January, leading to the committee’s selection of artist Blessing Hancock’s concept proposal to move forward to the Arts Commission.
“It was kind of hard, I mean, it (the submissions) was so beautiful,” said Rasmussen.
Hancock’s concept for the civic artwork involves a series of suspended sculptural lanterns, ranging in size from 2 feet to 5 feet, with a total dimension of 17 feet long, 13 feet wide, and 10 feet high.
The design incorporates imagery that speaks to the values of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the surrounding communities, with inspiration drawn from the star badge design and language to represent safety and security.
“We were really big about, most everybody on the committee, when you walked into the station, that it was more of a feeling of safety,” said Rasmussen. “You feel like this is a place that could give you some help. That you feel welcome to be in. We wanted it to be timeless.”
The lanterns will be made of water-jet-cut metal with custom imagery patterns, polycarbonate, and LED lighting.
The proposed location for the artwork is the lobby of the SCV Sheriff’s Station, where it is intended to create a visual experience that engages visitors and reflects the values of the LASD and the local community.
The installation will be coordinated with the city of Santa Clarita during the final design phase, with an emphasis on durability, low maintenance and safety.
Once the Arts Commission recommends Hancock’s proposal, staff will prepare a memo for the City Council and place an item on a future City Council agenda for final approval.
Jennifer Shadle, the arts and events administrator for the city, said that if the project is granted approval, the project should take, if all goes according to plan, one year to finish.
Back in 2017, the City Council passed the Civil Art Ordinance, which allows an extra 1% to be added to a capital project’s budget for civic cart.
Projects approved for the 1%, under the Civil Art Ordinance, will be funded by the city.
The preliminary budget for the project is set as follows:
- Materials/Fabrication – $96,623.
- Project consultants – $15,000.
- Transportation – $4,000.
- SitePrep/Installation – $15,000.
- Insurance – $2,000.
- Artist travel – $3,000.
- Artist fee – $40,000.
- Project contingency – $15,000.
- Total – $190,623.
According to Rasmussen, the city’s Arts Commission made the decision on Thursday to send the piece back to the staff for clarification from Hancock on the cut-out design on the stars.
Officials expect the civic art project at the SCV Sheriff’s Station to be a significant addition to the facility, enriching the human experience and creating an atmosphere of participation, curiosity, and connection to the community through art.
“I think our city is really growing in the appreciation for art and it just keeps going,” said Rasmussen. “They always say that art really shows you what kind of city you have, and I think that our pieces are amazing, so I’m really excited to be part of it.”