Public Art Projects
See the brochure with artists names and locations of the Public Art installations.
Since its inception in 1991, the City of Ventura's Public Art Program has sought to enhance the community through innovative public art projects that provide visitors and residents alike with a new understanding of the unique history and breadth of cultural resources in Ventura.
Streetscape Mural Project
Utility Boxes Painted by Artists - Map and artists names
The City of Ventura Public Art Program’s Streetscape Mural Project is a sidewalk
and street corner showcase for talented local artists and community members
to transform traffic signal utility boxes into new public artworks. Since 2007
artists have painted over 20 boxes with beautiful and unique designs in the
Downtown, Westside, Midtown and Pierpont neighborhoods, turning our
streets into an art gallery and minimizing graffiti.
Paul Benavidez – 1999 Artwalk
MB Hanrahan – 1999 Artwalk
Lucy Harvey – Spring is Sprung – 2001 Artwalk
Jane Mulfinger – Wish You Were Here – Artwalk
Liz Schwitters – Camera Obscura – 2001 Artwalk
Alexis Weidig – 2001 Artwalk
PLACE Projects (Public and Local Artists Creating Environments):
Mark Grieve – Wheel Arch
MB Hanrahan – Bless Me Ultima (Big Read Mural)
Margo Tuck – I Love Ventura Banners
Stefan Verstappen – Tubular Zen
Helle Scharling Todd – Abundance – Senior Center
David Rivas – Banners
“Public Art that really moves you” new bike rack art & bus shelter murals
The City of Ventura's Public Art Program includes "in the open air" artwork throughout our community. Whether you travel by car, bicycle, bus, or on foot, you'll find amazing artwork that "really moves you!"
The City of Ventura’s nationally-recognized public art program of transit artworks now consists of 19 bus shelter murals and 7 bike rack sculptures installed through the city – and anchored by the “Bus-Home” bus transfer center created by Dennis Oppenheim – to fulfill the Public Art Program goal of weaving art into the everyday life of our residents and visitors and especially to encourage them to use alternative transportation and ride by bus or bicycle. ●Brochure ●Bike racks ● Interpretive panels
Artworks created for or donated to the City's public art collection represent a significant asset. In order to protect the public art collection that now consists of 60 permanent and 25 temporary and ongoing projects, the public art program developed a proactive conservation plan that avoids costly restoration projects resulting from deferred treatment and funded through the NEA and other resources. ●Internship Blog ●Internship application (2014)
California Street Project
The redesign of the California Street Bridge offers an exciting opportunity to create an iconographic pedestrian/vehicular thoroughfare for the city of Ventura. Working in collaboration with city representatives, the Arts Commission and other design professionals, artist Michael Davis has created a design that highlights the California Street Bridge’s unique vantage point while addressing key problems with the bridge in its present form. The artist’s innovative redesign also works to integrate public art in a way that encompasses functionality and aesthetics. He intends, for example, to replace the current low railing with a new bronze and steel railing assured to provide a sense of enclosure and protection, and he will address the bridge’s inadequate lighting by including nine sculptural lighting columns.
About the Artist Michael Davis has worked successfully in the field of public art for over 25 years, creating works across the United States and internationally for national, state and city venues as well as museum and gallery installations. Davis is highly experienced in projects involving design team collaborations and research of a community and its history. Work by Davis can be found at the Los Angeles MTA Vermont/Sunset Station, the Seattle Justice Center, the Metro-Dade International Airport in Miami, and, among numerous other sites, at Heritage Park in the City of Santa Fe Springs.
Functional Public Art Enhancements
The designed public art improvements to the Ventura Community Park include: Butterfly Cluster, Sunshades, and Trellis Lighting.
Sunshades feature four sun and weather shelters approximately 19’ in diameter. Each shelter will be a different color; selected colors are blue, red, yellow, and green.
Trellis Lights consist of an integrated lighting system to be placed at the top of four capitals that support a trellis sited near a main entrance to the park. A sculptural lighting element, Trellis Lights will enhance the public’s sense of arrival into this major community center.
Butterfly Cluster, Trellis Lights, Sunshades, 2005
Painted steel, fiber optic lighting
Location: Ventura Community Park
About the Art:
Ventura’s distinctive environmental connection to the unique habitat and migration of the Monarch Butterfly inspired Anita Margrill to create Butterfly Cluster and Sunshades. Butterfly Cluster is a sculptural lighting element consisting of LED lit butterflies mounted on 6’ to 8’ poles that subtly oscillate in the wind. Together this kinetic cluster of painted steel butterflies and 19’ diameter sun shelters form the “Butterfly Oasis,” which can be found in the Park’s aquatic center. The artist’s butterfly motif was inspired by the unusual migration habits of the monarch butterfly, which travels an astonishing 2,000 miles each fall to return to the coastal eucalyptus groves of Central California, including the Harmon Barranca bordering the park. The artwork honors Ventura’s connection to this remarkable habitat. Also found in the park is Margrill’s third decorative element, Trellis Lights, which features a striking architecturally integrated lighting system. Positioned at the top of the four capitals that support the trellis structure near the entrance of the park, Trellis Lights greatly enhance the gateway to one of Ventura’s most important community recreation sites.
About the Artist:
Award-winning California artist Anita Margrill has developed public art projects for over twenty-five years often with a focus on cultural, technological, and environmental issues. She attempts to create imaginative pieces that harness natural energy, mirroring what she calls “the choreography of change, celebrating the resources of sunlight, wind and water.” Among extensive public works projects by this licensed architect are an interpretive walkway (Pacifica, CA), a wind pavilion (Steilacoom, WA), kinetic and water sculptures (Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, and Antioch CA), as well as playgrounds in New York City. A designer of passive solar houses, she also holds numerous patents and copyrights for water distribution systems.
Born in New York City, Anita Margrill attended Cranbrook Academy of Art and holds a bachelor of art from Bennington Collage, a bachelor of architecture from CUNY School of Architecture and Environmental Studies, and a master of art in interdisciplinary arts from San Francisco State University. The recipient of numerous national grants, she is also a frequent teacher and artist-in-residence. Her artwork has been included in many group and solo exhibitions in California and New York.
Montalvo Park - Movement and KIDS PLAY
Pasadena based sculptor Louis Longi has been selected by the Public Art Commission to create two new public art works for the new Montalvo Park at Promontory Point. Longi was selected for his proposal of two bronze sculptures entitled, Movement and KIDS PLAY. Longi was awarded a $20,000 contract to design, fabricate and install the two sculptures. The Montalvo Park is being built through a collaboration of city and developer resources. Through the use of Quimby Fees, developers' assessments are being used for the new park's construction and the incorporation of public art therein.
About the Artist:
The thirty-eight year old bronze sculptor grew up in the culture of Las Vegas where he formulated his personal experiences with art at an early age. He received many awards for his art while in high school and went on to study sculpture at UNLV, where he received the Devos Art Scholarship based on artistic merit. Longi is represented by numerous galleries in the United States, and has received sponsorship from Cirque de Soleil's Artist Outreach Program. After leaving Las Vegas, Longi moved to Denver, Colorado where he lived for eleven years. While apprenticing in the production of bronze sculptures, he established himself as a successful artist while developing his own style and reputation. All of his bronze sculptures are one-of-a-kind originals, with no series or editions. From Denver Longi moved to Laguna Beach to further his career in the Southern California region. His most recent commissions are for public art works for the City of Laguna Beach, a bronze sculpted bench, and for the City of Brea, two eight foot bronze figures.
About the design:
Movement is a 10' high bronze sculpture of a female figure in motion to be sited near Victoria Avenue at the west entrance to the park. His second sculpture, KIDS PLAY will be sited within the park near the main recreation area. As part of the creation of KIDS PLAY, a 4' bronze figure, Longi has worked with students from Montalvo Elementary School to develop small sculptures that will be placed on the outstretched arms of the childlike figure. All of Longi's bronze sculptures are one-of-a-kind originals with no series or editions.
Peppertree Garden/Booster Pump Station
A Conservation Landscape
Location: Poli Street and Aliso Canyon Road (Midtown Ventura)
Artists: Kathryn Miller and Andreas Hessing
Medium: Landscape artwork
About Preppertree Garden
Peppertree Garden is a functioning booster pump station of the City of Ventura's Water Division. The pump station functions to pressurize and 'boost' water into the adjacent hillside residences. Water Department infrastructure lies beneath the entire site. Additional information can be found at Ventura's Water Department site.
About the Artists
Kathryn Miller is Professor of Art at Pitzer College (Claremont, CA). She earned an MFA from U.C. Santa Barbara, an MA in Biology from Sonoma State University and a BS in Biology from George Washington University. Miller is an established public artist known for her remediation of landscapes. Millerís artwork explores environmental processes and natural systems. She currently maintains a studio in Isla Vista, California.
Team member Andreas Hessing is an artist and landscape designer. He earned an MFA in Sculpture from Claremont Graduate School and an MA and BA in Fine Arts from California State University at Fullerton. Hessing's site-specific commissions featured across Southern California encourage dialogue about the human role in regional ecosystems. His work focuses on returning land to its original state by using plants indigenous the region.
Together this team has created several innovative land art projects including the Arroyo Pescadero Interpretive Center in Whittier Hills. Built on the Puente Hills Landfill, the team worked with a diverse group of community and government stakeholders to develop an interactive and educational landscape art site. Completed in 2006, the project was funded through the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service.
About the Artwork
In 2007, environmental artists Kathryn Miller and Andreas Hessing were commissioned by the City of Ventura to create public artwork in Peppertree Garden. Interested in the history of hydrology, botany, and geology of the area, the artists redesigned the park to create an abstracted "map" of coastal California.
This coastal "map" can be explored through a series of interventions on the site that include:
GEOLOGY: Sedimentary rock exposed in the central berm of Peppertree Garden serve as a reminder of the geology of the area. Artists will plant striking examples of local native plants that thrive in exposed areas and are drought tolerant.
THE LIVING ROOM: For more than 10,000 years, locals found sustenance and shelter under Oak trees. Adjacent plantings are examples of native plants that grow well in the shade of the Oak. Gabions reference an ancient technique of filling baskets with stone. Here they are designed to provide seating. They were filled with rocks found on the site.
BIOSWALE This intervention is a reminder of the movement of water through Pepper Tree Garden. To begin cleanup of runoff water, a small stone-lined trench is filled with wetland plants to passively start this process. The bioswale feeds into a bowl made of eight gabion wedges filled with local limestone. This helps to de-acidify water and neutralize heavy metals. Small fossil fish can be found in the limestone that was once formed on the ocean floor but now is quarried into the mountain ranges above the park.
Photos Summer 2007: An in-progress glimpse of the living room at Peppertree Garden.
In 2003 the City of Ventura, through a direct commission, awarded the artist team of Moses Mora and M.B. Hanrahan a $36,000 contract to design, fabricate, and install a mural as part of the Figueroa Street Improvement Project. The selection of this artist team was based on their earlier, extremely successful, temporary Tortilla Flats mural, which was created in 1995 across from the Ventura County Fairgrounds and then dismantled five years later due to deterioration. Consisting of images derived from old photographs, oral histories, and extensive interviews, this new, permanent, mural is a re-interpretation of the previous work, synthesizing some of the original images with new. With this mural the artists seek to honor the neighborhood by capturing the stories and memories of the families that lived in Tortilla Flats, the neighborhood that was demolished in the 1940's to make room for the 101 Freeway. In addition to promoting Ventura's cultural history, the new mural, as well as the other Figueroa Street improvements will greatly enhance an important link between downtown Ventura and the Beach.
About the Artists: Award winning artist MB (Mary Beth) Hanrahan earned an MFA in sculpture from Humbolt State University. In addition to creating numerous murals throughout southern California, she has experience with a wide variety of media, including photography, graphic arts, and set design. Always dedicated to creating a dialogue about social issues, MB is often an advocate for community ideas through her works of public art. Born in the same Tortilla Flat's neighborhood he is attempting to honor, much of Moses Mora's artwork fits within the larger frame of activist and cultural worker. He has had tremendous community influence not only through his murals, which can be found in Santa Paula, Oxnard, and Ventura, but also through his work organizing performances events that benefit cultural, environmental, or human need groups. On a more spiritual side, Mora, who is a fully recognized Lakota Sundancer, further contributes to the community by conducting Sweat Lodge ceremonies for troubled youth as well as for other groups.
About the Design: The Tortilla Flats mural is being created in four installments with each section measuring approx. 17' high and 50' long. In addition to painted scenes, the artists are also transferring the images of old photographs onto tiles and then framing them with colorful ceramics. Although inspired by the memories and lives of the residents of Tortilla Flats, the stories depicted in the mural are universal and reflect common experiences of many working class people. This project, which is being completely designed and created at the Bell Arts Studio, will be installed at its permanent location at the freeway underpass on Figueroa Street in Ventura.
The Ventura River Trail
Opened in 1999, the Ventura River Trail is a pedestrian and bicycle path that follows the old Southern Pacific "right of way" from Main Street to Foster Park, 6.3 miles inland. The path links the Ojai Valley and Coastal Omer Rains Trail to create a longer 17-mile bike path recognized as one of the finest in Southern California.
Click here for a Ventura River Trail Brochure
Environmentally, the trail is unique in that it traverses several ecological zones and skirts the edge of habitats important to many resident and migratory birds. Through funding by the City of Ventura Public Art Program, the natural landscape has been further enhanced through the commissioning and installation of artwork that seeks to interpret Ventura's economic, cultural and environmental history. One of these works is The Orange Trace.
It’sTime for Ventura’s Bus Home
A double page spread image of Ventura’s signature public artwork -- “Dennis Oppenheim’s loopy Bus Home, a sculptural roller coaster” -- gets pride of place in the November 11, 2013, issue of Time Magazine in critic Richard Lacayo’s review of the hefty new coffee table book by world-renowned arts publisher Phaidon Press called Art & Place: Site-Specific Art of the Americas: “Artist Dennis Oppenheim gave shoppers at the Pacific View Mall in Ventura, Calif., a vibrant, whimsical place to wait for a ride with his 2002 structure Bus Home.” View the Time Magazine spread (pdf). Time subscribers can access the entire article online at: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2156250,00.html.
The Restoration of Bus Home: Completed in 2002, Bus Home stands as the centerpiece of the Bus Transfer Center, located at the north end of Pacific View Mall. Bus Home, which incorporates shaped and painted steel forms, depicts the metamorphosis of a bus changing into a home. Less than three years after Bus Home was installed and painted, it began showing signs of rust, indicating a premature paint failure. Assessments showed that the original coating system failed as a result of improper surface preparation and exacerbated by the application of paint that was too thin. The failure of the paint contractor to follow specifications caused Bus Home to soon become an eyesore, In the summer of 2008, funded primarily through a court settlement with the original contractor, Bus Home was finally restored. The restoration of Bus Home required an abrasive blast to clean the steel, an application of a zinc rich priner, an epoxy based coast, and a polyurethane finish coat. The colorful surface should now stay bright and smooth for many years.