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What Do You Think of this Public Art Piece?

Proposed public artwork CoastalHelix by Roger Stoller.
Proposed public artwork CoastalHelix by Roger Stoller.

The City of Carlsbad is seeking input on a signature work of art that will greet visitors and residents entering the city through the new roundabout under construction at its northern gateway, the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street. Watch a video about the proposed work of art here.

The city selected Bay Area artist Roger White Stoller to create a sculpture that will reflect Carlsbad’s unique community and cultural identity. Stoller, who has extensive experience creating art for public spaces, was selected by a city public art advisory committee after a nationwide search.

Stoller’s proposed sculpture, entitled “CoastalHelix,” will weave images drawn from Carlsbad’s culture and environment into a metal lacework as part of the artwork to be placed in the roundabout.

“The roundabout is an important entryway into Carlsbad, and the committee envisioned a piece of art that tells people that Carlsbad is a vibrant city, a cultural city, and a city of great natural beauty,” said City of Carlsbad Cultural Arts Manager Vincent Kitch.

The city is installing the roundabout to improve connectivity for all modes of transportation at the busy intersection. The new roundabout will make it easier to travel between State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard from either direction, which isn’t possible under its current Y-shaped configuration. Learn more about roundabouts.

It will also improve safety by slowing traffic and adding room for bicyclists and pedestrians. The roundabout includes a new segment of the Coastal Rail Trail, bicycle lanes on Carlsbad Boulevard and a sidewalk on the east side of the boulevard. The city also will install “sharrow lanes” — lanes shared by vehicles and bicycles — on State Street, welcoming bicyclists into the historic Carlsbad Village.

In September 2013 the Carlsbad City Council allocated $100,000 to incorporate a public artwork at the roundabout, because of its strategic location along Historic Highway 101. The roundabout will greet travelers crossing Buena Vista Lagoon from Oceanside into Carlsbad.

The city initiated a nationwide search for an artist through a Request for Qualifications. After reviewing nearly 90 artist submissions from throughout the country, an advisory committee consisting of Carlsbad arts commissioners, community stakeholders, public art professionals and City of Carlsbad staff selected Stoller in December from among several final candidates.

“It was evident from Roger’s presentation to the selection committee that his designs and his approach to this work were perfectly suited to the roundabout, which is scheduled to be complete by June,” Kitch said.

“The committee were also impressed by his credentials and his extensive body of work,” Kitch said.

Stoller, who is based in the San Francisco Bay communities of Portola Valley and San Jose, said his aim is to produce a sculpture that will represent Carlsbad for many years, and he met with stakeholders and community members to hear what they thought was important to include in the work.

“Over the years I’ve done a lot of public art and I’ve come to value input from the public as part of the process,” Stoller said. Through these meetings he understood that the Pacific Ocean, the city’s three lagoons and aquatic life are important elements in the community’s life and culture, so he drew on such images — a whale, pelican, heron, crab, waves, sunset and bird of paradise — to incorporate into his sculpture. He also works extensively with spirals and helixes, and he said that form is naturally suited to a roundabout.

“I’m trying to learn what is iconic and meaningful to the community and put this into the piece, but in such a way so that it’s not just obvious, like, ‘Oh, there’s another pelican,’ or ‘There’s another whale,’” he said. “I’ll take these iconic images and ‘weave’ them into the metal-lace pattern that becomes part of the artwork. My work is abstract and these images will not be easily found, but they will be there”

Examples of Stoller’s public artworks include:

  • “Tetrahelix,” a bronze, steel and granite sculpture at Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
  • “Baja Luna,” a metal and onyx sculpture hanging at the Magnussen Lodge in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
  • “Tetra Con Brio,” composed of bronze, steel and concrete, which serves as the signature piece for the music center at Strathmore in Montgomery County, Md.

He has other works installed in many cities throughout the U.S. For more on Roger White Stoller’s art, visit his web page.

Art in Public Places

The City of Carlsbad’s Art in Public Places program, which began in 1985, is designed to expand residents’ appreciation of art, reflect the city’s aspiration to improve the quality of life and to enhance and identify Carlsbad as a unique community. A key component of Carlsbad’s program is an emphasis on public participation during the selection process.

To comment on Roger Stoller’s proposed artwork, “CoastalHelix,” go here.

Or residents may visit the Carlsbad City Library or the Georgina Cole Library to see a rendition of the art and comment. The Carlsbad City Library is located at 1775 Dove Lane; the Cole Library is located at 1250 Carlsbad Village Dr.

Comments received by March 3 will be reviewed and considered by the Arts Commission, which will make a recommendation to the City Council. The Arts Commission’s next meeting will be at 9 a.m. on March 6 in the City Council Chambers, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Raymond Bender February 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM
Apart from its aesthetics, will it be graffiti resistant and easily restored?
Laura February 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Like the art piece, HATE roundabouts! People don't know how to give right of way at stop signs let alone roundabouts.
Christine Bevilacqua February 13, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Can't tell how big/tall it is. Will it be on a pedestal? Will it say Welcome to Carlsbad somewhere around it? More info please.
Jessica Padilla Bowen February 13, 2014 at 09:40 PM
Thanks for your interest and comments. The sculpture will be stainless steel that will be maintained and cleaned regularly. The size is approximately 12’ and it will be elevated on a pedestal. Signage for the artwork has not yet been finalized; there is currently no sign planned in the roundabout itself. As more information is available, we’ll share it with the community. We welcome your comments at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/proposedpublicart
glenn bernard February 14, 2014 at 02:44 PM
Because of the expensive fiasco two decades ago whereby this city spent about $250,000 erecting then removing a view-obstructing outdoor jail cell at the beach, Carlsbad City Hall should be forever banned from spending tax dollars on art. I support Art Education in the public schools, and would prefer to re-route these funds to the school district for Art Education.
glenn bernard February 15, 2014 at 09:10 AM
speaking of wasting funds just to irritate people with view obstructions…..Carlsbad City Hall still purchases trees to plant on private property, like perhaps, your house. "If you touch this tree, you will be sued and/or arrested," they tell homeowners. They especially enjoy these plantings where they block ocean views.
Eleanor Baldwin February 15, 2014 at 05:49 PM
Art? Sorry, it struck me as tsunami refuse.
barbara segal February 16, 2014 at 02:38 AM
I think the roundabout and the art piece are both a waste of money....
glenn bernard February 16, 2014 at 05:35 PM
Was there a European regime, possibly Germany, where, during the 1930's, they declared what was good art and what was bad art? Are we now equally mandated to love the art that Matt Hall requires us to look at? When Government spends money on the Art that they like, isn't it really an admission that we the people are being excessively taxed?
Neil Gehrke February 16, 2014 at 08:49 PM
This reminds me of the bars. Why not seek out local artists for conceptual designs on any art that would adorn our city at our entry corridors. Many talented artists live right here in North County. Keep it local if you do anything at all.
Christine Bevilacqua February 16, 2014 at 09:36 PM
I agree...I'm sure there are many LOCAL artists who could create something beautiful for a lot less than 100 k! The city is so bent on ' cost recovery' for all new projects...including charging parents to watch their kids practice at Alga Norte park...where's the cost recovery to.tax payers for this extravagance ??
glenn bernard February 17, 2014 at 02:10 PM
People, keep your focus on both the dollars and the attitude. The artist who designed the giant outdoor jail cell admitted that it was her way to deliver an insult to California property owners. Back then, apparently the community of artists knew that Carlsbad City Hall, out of all Calif cities, would pay a lot of money to insult the People. Not much has changed.
barbara segal February 18, 2014 at 09:09 PM
OK...I believe that Carlsbad should spend less money on roundabouts for the benefit of cyclists, and more on education. It is preposterous that teachers still have YARD DUTY, as well as after school TRAFFIC DUTY....Let's hire qualified people to take these jobs. Someone, somewhere, is receiving lots of $, while teachers need this time in the classroom.
Scott Hill February 19, 2014 at 01:35 PM
Glenn, I liked your first comment so much I even recommended it. But after that it was to much. I have driven that road many times coming home from work. To me that is the wrong place to put a roundabout. That area coming into Carlsbad just isn't worth it. I would think that there are more cars coming from south to north, than north to south. O'side is looking at redoing their portion of Coast Highway. Has that been taken into account here? Let's spend the money else, not on a roundabout or art in that area.
glenn bernard February 21, 2014 at 11:02 AM
Landscaping for the round-about. Mayor Hall could (a) send city personnel in city vehicles to any retailer, such as Lowe's, and spend about $800 for the shrubs; or (b) pay a private contractor (one of his political cronies, to be sure) between $30,000 and $50,000 to do the same thing. The excuse would be, "but none of our workers are designers, and it must be as beautiful as possible." But, Mayor Hall and others are up for re-election later this year, so they will not think twice about having their minions trample through all of the shrubs to place their precious campaign signs. I have pointed out to them that Escondido allows campaign signs ONLY on private property, but Carlsbad's Electeds have always enjoyed seeing their names in public places. Reminds me of a phrase I always heard my mother say…"fools' names and fools' faces always appear in public places."

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