New Sculptures in Newport Beach
For a decade or more, the award for OC’s most acclaimed collection of public art could have gone to Laguna Beach, Brea or Costa Mesa, the latter thanks largely to Henry Segerstrom and family. But there’s a new public art player in the county: Newport Beach. The city’s Inaugural Sculpture Exhibition installed in Civic Center Park opened last month, marking a significant new investment in the arts in the community. Unlike most civic art programs, the pieces will be changed periodically. The 20 new sculptures were chosen from 260 works submitted by 170 artists, and are intriguing additions to the park that we already love, bunny statues and all. Fans of public art should cheer, though it’s not unexpected that Civic Center critics are being heard from first.
Vintage van sant
Our favorite al fresco art in Newport Beach was created some four decades ago, and can still be seen throughout Newport Center. Called intaglios, the 39 sculpted panels featuring deer, seals, sharks, mountain lions, and other creatures created by California artist Tom Van Sant were commissioned by masterplanner William Pereira. When the Irvine Company built its new headquarters in Newport Center, six of the artist's concrete creations were painstakingly restored and moved to a courtyard with a water feature and outdoor seating. Van Sant has other intaglios in town, including those on Hoag Hospital's PCH parking structure. And we'll always be fans of his giant Fashion Island wind chimes, which could use a ringing restoration, too.