Walnut Creek has been doing a really cool utility box painting project for a few years, and they’ve recently changed some of their art for 2017. You can see more information on the program and recent additions here, but we’ll be including some in Art Town moving forward.
The other day, I was grabbing lunch at Vitality Bowl in downtown Walnut Creek when I thought I need to look for another piece of art for my blog. I looked up and noticed – for the first time ever – a cool sculpture across the street by the Lesher Center.
It’s funny how that happens! I’ve lived here for years, and probably walked that sidewalk a hundred times, and only now noticed it! Art is all over Walnut Creek, you just have to look and notice.
The sculpture is called “Wings” and was built in 1986 by Walnut Creek resident Dan Dykes. He grew up on a small Oregon farm on the outskirts of the Siletz Indian Reservation, where his early exposure to natural forms in that rugged environment continues to influence his abstract work.
To me, the sculpture looks like an angel from certain angles, with its wings spread out behind it. Dykes intended for there to be hints of simple birds, plants and trees in the sculpture, and for the durable bronze material to change with weather over the years, as well as with light patterns to reveal tiny, purposeful markings.
If you’re strolling down North Main in Walnut Creek, you might wander right past a really cool piece of art. Surely, you recognize Geologica, the glittering half-rock fountain piece in front of Wells Fargo. But have you taken the time to actually look at it?
The piece, created by husband and wife artist team Wowhaus, was created in 2012 using ceramic and glass tiles. They designed it to change with the light, weather and seasons so that every time you walk by it, the look is slightly altered. You’re never supposed to see the same thing twice!
The mosaic patterns flicker and change in the water. Wowhaus likes to play with narrative to help understand the communities we live in, and puts that into their work as well. Other pieces they’ve done reside in places like Emeryville, Oakland and San Francisco. They have another piece coming to Walnut Creek soon!
Give it an extra look next time you’re downtown and maybe you’ll notice that it’s different from every angle.
If you’ve ever grabbed a coffee at La Scala or strolled from Stadium Pub to Dan’s on a weekend night, you’ve passed this ceramic sculpture.
Overhoff, a Dutch artist, named this piece after the plans to assemble it literally got lost in the mail.
The design is supposed to be texture-focused and allow for softening and hardening of the features depending on the angle of the sun.
According to the Walnut Creek Arts Commissioner, some people believe the sculpture looks like a pizza with two slices taken out of it. I personally see some sort of decaying sun dial, but to each his or her own!
Have you ever been wandering downtown by Broadway Plaza and turned the corner around Nordstrom and ended up staring into the open mouth of a big, golden fish statue? It startled me the first time I saw it.
Of all the strange art in Walnut Creek, this is a strong contender for weirdest of them all.
The fish, which is actually entitled “Bronze Carp” is the brainchild of the late Luciano Tempo, a Venetian-born artist who specialized in classically-hand carved stone planters, tables, and statues.
If my research is correct, Tempo also has a bronze alligator and frog somewhere in Walnut Creek. I haven’t seen those, but they are said to be placed around Broadway Plaza in a similar setting to the Bronze Carp.
Though the fish isn’t the prettiest to look at, it’s fascinatingly strange and adds a little bit of spice to our downtown art scene. It seems Walnut Creek isn’t shy about throwing random artwork together, huh?
Right across the street from my office on Riviera Ave., there is a unique sculpture (that doubles as a PokeStop, for those of you still hunting…) that I’ve dubbed “Dueling Eggs.” As you can see, it looks like two hollow, silver eggs that rotate and spin in the wind.
I couldn’t find any information on an official title or backstory, but it’s pretty fascinating to watch on gusty days. If you’re impatient, you can also spin it yourself. Add it to the list of interesting artwork dotting Walnut Creek these days!
Oh, for what it’s worth – the name of the PokeStop on Pokemon Go is “Two Egg Omelet,” but I like our name better…
We continue our tour of Walnut Creek’s public art scene with one of the more recognizable sculptures in the city: “Hand of Peace,” located just outside the library in Civic Park. The aptly-named sculpture is a monument to peace by Italian-born artist Beniamino Bufano, who passed away in 1970.
Legend has it that Bufano cut off his trigger finger and sent it to President Woodrow Wilson to protest World War I. He was a peace activist who taught at the San Francisco Institute of Art, UC Berkeley and Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, according to a 2012 San Jose Mercury News story. Bufano has other prominent pieces in the Bay Area, including a sculpture in Chinatown, one at Mondavi Vineyards in Napa, and one at Lake Merced.
According to the San Jose Mercury News article, Bufano originally created the “Hand of Peace” for the San Francisco Arts Commission, but when the piece was put up for sale, developer Bill Swigert paid $50,000 to place the sculpture in Walnut Creek, outbidding Fox Plaza and Ghirardelli Square.
The sculpture sat in an office park in Walnut Creek from 1967 to 2009, when it was taken down for restoration. Now, it’s up for display for many years to come in Civic Park. The sculpture weighs nearly 5 tons, stands 30 feet tall, and is made of copper, mosaic and stained glass.
Oh, and it’s a PokeStop, by the way…
Walnut Creek isn’t just becoming a hot spot for dining options and to live – it’s also quickly filling up with quirky, mesmerizing art! That’s probably because city ordinance says 1% of any new construction project budget must be dedicated to erecting public art or donated to a public art fund.
Check out this new piece next to the Teleferic/Rooftop/Vineyard Vines building:
Take a stroll around town, you will be amazed at all the art there is to see … one just needs to be observant. Enjoy!
Sometimes you just have to get out of the office. Our Walnut Creek Lifestyle Group decided to take a little outing to the Bedford Gallery for its new exhibit (free to the public each first Tuesday of every month!), which preceded our meeting over beers at ØL around the corner.
The exhibit on display through the end of August is called “Flux” by artist Crystal Wagner.
The colorful art installation was built from chicken wire and disposable tablecloths and takes up almost all of the gallery space.
One of the most interesting things about the artist is that she does not pre-plan her installations; she looks at the space available and creates a twisting shape to fit it.
Wagner, according to the accompanying information at the exhibit, intentionally builds installations where the viewer is overshadowed by an enormous sculpture. She wants the viewer to be surrounded by bright colors and feel as if they are dwarfed by all the surrounding textures.
Her work is anchored in her anxiety about the compromised state of the natural world but is designed to bring joy to her audience. The piece was really quite remarkable.
Check out the timelapse from the Bedford website below, as well as all the pictures my team took.
Also, keep an eye out for that ØL blog next Tuesday!
Looking for something to do on a lazy weeknight in Walnut Creek? Maybe craving another local live music show after your BottleRock or OutsideLands weekends? Well, you’re in luck!
Broadway Plaza is hosting its Summer Concert Series every Thursday night of this month. Each concert is free and open to the public from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
You’ve already missed one show on August 4th, but you can still catch:
- Foreverland on August 11th
- Mustache Harbor on August 18th
- Tainted Love on August 25th.
Also, don’t forget the Party in the Plaza on September 1st: it’s a special event featuring a concert with Mark McGrath and Pop Rocks! For more information, click here.
This year’s event will be located in Broadway Plaza’s brand new Event Plaza, which is near Macy’s and the newly opened Broadway Lane.
They don’t allow outside food or beverage, but will sell both at the shows! Of course, you could always wander over to pretty much any bar or restaurant for a drink or a bite afterward from that location, too.
Walnut Creek continues to find cool ways to get its people outside this summer – enjoy and have a great time! Just bit bummed about not bringing my cooler, but maybe that keeps it free!