Brentwood officials recently put the finishing touches on a refined list of future public art locations.
The multi-phase, nine-project series, prioritized by the city’s art commission, and later approved by the city council, includes plans for pieces at key city entrances, at the library, along the Dainty Avenue and Central Boulevard creek area, on the hill west of the Highway 4 bypass and various other locations.
The projects will be funded through the city’s public-art program, which requires developers and public projects to either add art as part of their work, or pay an in-lieu fee. Nearly $2.7 million currently sits in the two funds, combined.
“Brentwood is fortunate to be uniquely situated, as many California towns of similar size have no public-art voice,” said City Art Commissioner Brian Carleton.
The locations are identified through an exhaustive process involving city staff identifying city-owned parcels as potential locations, and then the five-member arts commission reviews and prioritizes based on several factors, including traffic counts, proximity to other public art installations and future development in the area.
Key changes to the updated document, last modified in 2017, removes the now-completed effort to beautify 16 city utility boxes, and organizes plans for art at the library, civic center, City Park and downtown into separate efforts.
“They will be handled as separate projects instead of one giant project,” said Recreation Manager Kris Farro.
The list begins with two sculptures, slated for the Sand Creek median in front of the Streets of Brentwood and along Brentwood Boulevard, near the Brentwood Police Station and the palm-tree landscaped area. Both will hopefully be completed by the end of the year, Farro said.
Davis McCarty’s “Branch Out,” along the Sand Creek Road median, will feature intricately carved branches twisting organically into the sky, with the tree motif paying homage to Brentwood’s agricultural history and suggesting that the city has the freedom to grow into a new identity.
Douwe Blumberg’s “Fields of Time,” near the police station, will showcase a wide variety of elements, including tractors, farm workers and ranchers, intended to represent the area’s agriculture evolution in a fun and visually interesting, linear-timeline approach.
The locations and designs were both narrowed down by an ad-hoc subcommittee composed of city council and art commission members, and later approved by the full art commission and city council.
“Initially we put the call out nationally, not just locally, so that we could get a broad variety of artists, and we did,” said Art Commissioner Cindy Lee, a member of the subcommittee. “We narrowed it down and reviewed over 180 artists.”
Both pieces are unique, Lee added.
“Davis McCarty’s work was very contemporary and forward-thinking, which I really liked and see Brentwood moving towards,” she said. “Douwe Blumberg’s piece really represented the past, present and future of Brentwood farming, which I know will be pleasing to the people who have lived in Brentwood all their lives.”
McCarty and Blumberg are eligible to receive up to $175,000 for their work, which includes artwork design, fabrication, delivery, installation and travel. The city council is expected to finalize a contract with Blumberg by the end of this month or early next month, and with McCarty in late June or early July, Farro said.
“I think both of the art pieces will be very attractive,” said Brentwood City Councilmember Karen Rarey. “I really like the second one near the entrance to our town that depicts the history of ag’ in our area. I think that is a great way to welcome people into Brentwood.”
Another project on the horizon involves the possible installation of up to 60 art pieces in the library, Carleton said. The nonprofit Brentwood Library Foundation has contributed $88,065 toward the effort. A call for artwork is scheduled for the summer, with installation likely occurring in the fall, Farro said.
Other future projected art locations include the roundabout just past Garin Parkway, near Oak Street and Lott Drive; on the corner of Oak Street and Walnut Boulevard; and on the northeast corner of Sand Creek Road and O’Hara Avenue.
For a complete future-location list, visit www.urlzs.com/ondnC.