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.