Sun04202014

Community

New committee promotes public art movement in Los Altos Hills


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Karen Druker of the Los Altos Hills Art in Public Places Committee shares ideas for outdoor sculptures throughout town.

Imagine the visual poetry of viewing a colorful line of sculptures parallel to Los Altos Hills Town Hall while driving or walking along Fremont Road. If donors come forward, modern art may soon take root near the gravel trails and electric-vehicle charging stations that are a staple in the rural community.

“Not everybody is going to like everything, but we guarantee that it will be interesting,” said Karen Druker, chairwoman of the town’s new Art in Public Places Committee.

Along with six other committee members who have agreed to serve as ambassadors of the arts, Druker is sounding the call for donors.

When a donor inquired how he or she could bequeath art to the town last spring, the question stumped the city council, leading to the formation of a committee dedicated to developing a workable process for handling bequests. Since officially convening in August, the committee has scouted potential sites for sculptures at the town hall campus, Westwind Community Barn and Edith Park and developed a book of prospective art, available for viewing at the Los Altos Hills Town Hall reception desk, 26379 W. Fremont Road.

“We’re trying to expedite the process,” said Art in Public Places Committee member Gail Solomon of the reference book highlighting sculptures that reflect site-specific scale and characteristics. “This is a starting point to kick-start our campaign.”

One anonymous donor has already expressed interest in commissioning a $10,000 abstract sculpture series for placement near the large oak tree at town hall. If the donor’s impending contract with the artist for the commission moves forward without delay and the council accepts the donation, Los Altos Hills’ first piece of public art could be installed in the spring.

Druker noted that there are many reasons a resident may want to donate public art, including immortalizing a family’s involvement in the town or memorializing someone who has passed away. With a price tag between $3,000 and $50,000 for each site-specific sculpture, individuals as well as groups of donors are invited to contribute.

The committee is exploring fundraising options that would enable residents to make smaller contributions toward a sculpture or perhaps a sculpture garden. The donor-funded serpentine seating wall at town hall is an example of how the community has embraced the idea of funding public art in the past.

“The results will speak for themselves,” said Solomon of the public sculpture program. “If we have a successful launch, it sort of carries on on its own feet.”

For more information, call Druker at 941-8073 or 941-7222.

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