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January 30, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, January 30, 2004

New art for retro building New art for retro building (January 30, 2004)

Bronze sculpture tagged for train station

By Grace Rauh

Boys passing through Centennial Plaza these days are more likely to be toting a skateboard than an old-fashioned baggage cart.

But if the City Council continues its support of the creation of a new sculpture for the plaza, there will be at least one boy -- albeit a bronze one -- sitting on his cart outside the downtown train station.

City Council members discussed plans for the new sculpture at a study session Tuesday night and overwhelmingly supported commissioning the bronze piece for the Centennial Plaza completed to commemorate the city's centennial in 2002. They will formally vote on the project at an upcoming meeting.

"This is my kind of art," said Council member Nick Galiotto. "I can't wait to take some pictures there with my grandchildren."

With the council's approval, Colorado artist Dee Clements will cast the life-size bronze sculpture to stand approximately five feet high, three feet wide and eight feet deep. Clements originally proposed a sculpture with two figures, a boy and a baggage handler, but council members deemed the $75,000 price tag too hefty. So Clements removed the baggage handler, kept the boy and added a few boxes and fruit baskets to the cart in reference to the city's agricultural past. The final sculpture costs $50,000, plus $3,000 for transportation and installation.

City policy calls for one percent of all construction budgets from public projects totaling $1 million or more in Mountain View to be spent on art. One percent of the Centennial Plaza's construction costs total $20,000, so the city will need to find an additional $33,000 to pay for the proposed sculpture.

Council members could use leftover construction funds to help pay for the sculpture, or they could consider using the art dollars set aside during the historic Adobe Building's construction.

Several council members noted that the Adobe Building could be considered a work of art itself and may not need its own sculpture or art installation.

"Maybe it just makes sense" to combine the dollars and fund one larger art sculpture, said Council member Rosemary Stasek.

"I think it's going to be worth the cost. I think it will really be the finishing touch on the plaza," said Council member Mike Kasperzak.

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