Walnut Creek has done a lot of cool things with the rebuilding of Broadway Plaza, but one of my favorite new additions is all the art that’s going in to complement the buildings!
Recently, I was wandering the Broadway Paseo near the parking garage and saw Joyce Hsu’s hummingbird statues in front of Tommy Bahama’s. I think they look awesome and really draw a pedestrian’s eye to the color and form (they look as if they’re in flight)!
After doing a little research, I discovered that it’s part of a larger art installation called “Rawr,” which will also consist of a large robot T-Rex and a dinosaur bench just outside Macy’s. They are meant as both art and as a place for children to take a break when shopping.
According to the official approval documents, Hsu has always been intrigued by childhood fables, because it’s a reinterpretation of how the “adult” society works. She created the sculptures to remind visitors to Broadway Plaza of the importance of fun, play and imagination when building a stronger community.
Here’s a fun fact that also inspired Hsu’s hummingbirds and helped make them an obvious inclusion in the theme of her overall project: hummingbirds are, in fact, the smallest living dinosaurs!
This piece by Cliff Garten was created in 2016 and blends aluminum sheets and mesh with LED lights. It currently adorns one of the new S. Broadway entrances to the Broadway Plaza parking structure.
According to its listing on walkwc.oncell.com, the abstract floral motif of Liliales references two flowers essential to the lives of the area’s original inhabitants – the Volvons, and one of the early Bay Miwok tribes based around Mt. Diablo.
Garten is an award-winning artist and often incorporates light and space into his large designs. His other work in town is the Walnut Creek Veteran’s Memorial.
The LED lights on Liliales change colors with each season, too! You can get more info on Liliales on one of the public art walking tours downtown.
This is one of the more “flowery” utility boxes in downtown Walnut Creek. Most of them have cool, unique designs but you really have to look at them to get the picture. This piece by Casey Rasmussen White, entitled “Secret Garden,” is one you can just enjoy.
On the corner of N. Broadway and Mt. Diablo, this beautiful piece really catches your eye. It is simple and colorful.
If the name of the artist sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve featured another great piece by her on a separate utility box in downtown Walnut Creek. That one is called Sea Queen and is on a different corner of the same street.
I am always amazed at how much art there is to look at in downtown Walnut Creek if you just take a moment to observe.
This graceful, curving sculpture is located on the corner of Mt. Diablo and California. To me, it always looks like it’s in constant motion. And the shape even reflects the curved surface of the office building just north of it.
This piece, named “Fantasy,” was built in 1990 by Louis Pearson, and uses polished stainless steel to create the mesmerizing shape. Don’t forget about today’s Art Walk downtown!
Even though Fantasy won’t be included on this specific walking tour, you can always check it out on your own. Hope to see you there!
If you’ve been following this blog, you know about our recurring Saturday feature “Art Town.” A lot of those cool pieces of art are either related to the Bedford Gallery or found when strolling downtown Walnut Creek.
So, when I tell you that you MUST go on the Bedford Gallery Art Walk this Saturday, you better believe I mean it! I’ve learned a lot of cool stuff about Walnut Creek and its artwork just by writing those blogs every few weeks, and it’s forced me into wandering this town we often take for granted and experiencing some of its hidden beauty and best artwork.
This Saturday, June 17th, Beford Gallery docents will be leading the public art walking tour of Walnut Creek’s greatest works and will give you more interesting, in-depth information about your hometown than you could ever imagine.
Tickets are just $5 (cash only) and include admission to the Gallery itself. You don’t even have to RSVP. Just show up at 11 a.m. outside the Lesher Center and get walkin’ and art watchin’!
Additionally, there is a new self-guided audio tour available for public art in Walnut Creek, featuring 33 stops along the route. Have you seen those pink and orange signs around town designating public art? That’s where you can listen to the history of the piece on the Public Art Walking Tour app! Here’s a good map of all the public art the tour hits.
I’ll be there this weekend, and I hope to see you there too!
Have you ever noticed the big wooden sculpture across the street from the Walnut Creek BART back parking lot? It’s right between the big office buildings that engulf Caffe California. Funny enough, it’s just down the block from our Better Homes and Gardens offices!
I’ve walked past this a few times and never gave it a second glance, but I actually noticed it recently and I love the composition of the structure. It kind of looks like a bunch of different parts of a piano was disassembled and dropped in a heap on the concrete.
Make sure to take a look next time you’re on your way to or from BART. It’s pretty cool!
I love these cool ducks at the new Arroyo apartments at 1250 Arroyo Way in Walnut Creek. It’s one of the most unique pieces I’ve seen around town at any of the new complexes.
Did you know: The Walnut Creek Public Art Program was adopted in 2000 when ordinances requiring funding and the inclusion of public art in new development and renovation projects was passed by the City Council? I think that’s a wonderful idea!
Tucked away in front of a building on Cole Ave. (off N. California Blvd. by The Counter), is a cool sculpture called “Sparks.” I never would have noticed it if not for looking up while I was walking by.
The sculptor is Linda Fleming, a longtime sculpture professor at California College of the Arts. She has three major pieces at the Oakland Museum, which you can see HERE, HERE and HERE.
Lesson learned: always pay attention to your surroundings so you don’t miss anything!
Here’s another fun utility box project on the corner of N. Main St. and Duncan, right near Tomatina, kitty corner from the head fountain!
The painting here is a little more simple than others we’ve showcased, but still grabs your eye with the bright orange background and strange design in blue. It almost looks like a person with spiky hair listening to music, doesn’t it?
I can’t find much information on the piece itself or on the artist, James Woods Marshall, but it’s hard to miss this one when you’re walking down N. Main! Just another cool piece in a town chock full of hidden art.