People today often seem blind to their surroundings, absorbed talking on their phones or plugged into headphones listening to music. Yet give them a radical piece of public art like the big orange Fountain Head in front of Mechanics Bank or the bright Gradient Column at the Brio Apartments, and urban dwellers shed their indifference and become positively inspired. Public Art pieces break up ordinary life and provides a new way to experience the city.
Walnut Creek officially adopted its Public Art Program in 2000 when the City Council approved two key ordinances mandating funding and the inclusion of public art in new development and renovation projects. Since then, public artwork is popping up all over, enlivening the environment and quality of life.
INTERSECT IN RED
Red steel cylinders rising 50-feet high will grace The Landing Apartments on Ygnacio Valley Road when completed in the summer of 2017. “We’re very excited to bring this bold, modern sculpture to Walnut Creek. It’s a critical corner for the city and an opportunity to make a statement about the city’s commitment to public art,” says Project Director Lauren Colbert Seaver. The $300,000 sculpture is being created by artist Shayne Dark, considered one of Canada’s masters of public art.
BHV CenterStreet Properties, a Danville-based developer, has broken ground on the 178-unit apartment complex geared toward millennial commuters, otherwise known as persons born in the 1980s-90s. The $73.5 million Landing Apartments project in Walnut Creek will feature cutting-edge amenities: a sky-deck yoga studio, community roof-top garden, an outdoor movie theater and resort-style pool. Designed as a commuter complex, the building will offer 223 parking stalls at an additional cost to the rent, expected to run on average $2,000 to $3,000 per month.
BHV CenterStreet Properties is also believed to be developing the BART Transit Village, a 600-unit apartment and retail complex. The project is expected to include a public art sculpture complementing “Intersect in Red.”
The steel sculpture at the front of 1756 Cole complements the modern architecture of the new 12-unit Lenox Homes condominium complex. Created by artist Linda Fleming, the shadows cast by the sculpture create ever-changing patterns that transform the visual size and feel of the sculpture throughout the day. The angles of the sculpture shift and change as people walk past it, “sparking” the imagination.
1756 Cole is Lenox president Dan Freeman’s vision for another segment of the Walnut Creek population—downsizing baby boomers—who have left their large suburban homes for a more urban lifestyle. Referred to as the “Tesla of condominium living” by Freeman, the sprawling 2,000-square-foot units sold out prior to construction, bringing a new level to downtown living, and a $1.5 million price tag. While the chic condos are within easy walking distance to shopping, dining and entertainment, a significant feature in Freeman’s design is a state-of-the-art underground stackable parking system, permitting residents two cars per unit. Lenox is developing another new upscale condominium project on Trinity Avenue.
The Walnut Creek Public Art Program is administered by the Arts, Recreation & Community Services Department and overseen by the Bedford Gallery Advisory Council and the Arts Commission. Self-guided mobile walking tours are available of 30 public art locations downtown. Look for the colorful signs and download the app. For details, go to ci.walnut-creek.ca.us.