Updated at 4:45 p.m. March 10, 2012
La Mesa won’t know until July which of three artist teams will win the Centennial Legacy Project downtown, but city staff has chosen the favorite of three sites for the public artwork itself.
It would go at the triangle property next to Gingham restaurant and across from Johnny B’s Burgers and Brew—the crossroads of La Mesa Boulevard, Allison Avenue and Cypress Street, according to Tuesday’s agenda packet (see attached).
The artwork will cost between $100,000 and $125,000, but the city’s Centennial Committee says $135,000 in private cash and in-kind contributions have been secured via the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation, the fiscal agent for the centennial celebration.
“The Legacy Project will feature a donor element and a time capsule,” said city staff. “Proceeds from the yearlong celebration will support the cost to fabricate, construct and install a Legacy Project.”
The Centennial Committee narrowed a list of choices for the project to the triangle site and two others:
- The historic train depot at Nebo Drive
- The Civic Center property
“In reviewing these recommended sites, staff determined that the triangle in the downtown Village was the only feasible site,” staff said. “The Train Depot has limited city land available and the Civic Center property most likely will see more development.”
The proposed timeline for the Legacy Project is:
- MOU [memorandum of understanding] transmitted to finalists: March 26
- MOU returned and signed: April 9, 2012
- Honorium paid: Apri1 16, 2012
- Concept Packet Due: May 24, 2012
- Concept Packet Presentation: May 29 -June 14, 2012
- Artist Notification: July 10, 2012
- Contract Negotiation and Preparation: August 2012
- Artists to work with City staff and Committee to develop project: September- December 2012
- Fabrication, completion and installation of Legacy Project: complete by December, 2013
Original story of Feb. 20, 2012:
The lone La Mesa finalist for the Centennial Legacy Project will be a family affair, with former San Diego State art professor Jesus “Jess” Dominguez partnering with his artist wife of 45 years, Mary Lynn, and their daughter Amy.
The Dominguezes were informed several weeks ago by email that they were selected to pitch a public-art project downtown celebrating La Mesa at age 100.
La Mesans since 1976, the family will vie against public-art standouts Paul Hobson of San Diego and Christian Stayner of Los Angeles for the $125,000 project financed by private donors.
They entered because La Mesa is “just a great little town, and since we’re artists, we try to contribute something,” he said in a phone interview Monday.
She added: “Being in La Mesa [they live near its eastern border], we think it’s a great opportunity. We’re excited.”
He and Mary Lynn would be equal partners if chosen, she said.
“We’re pretty much on the same wavelength,” Jess said, sadding that their aesthetics are the same and they compliment each other’s work styles (with Mary Lynn being the more exacting one, “a really good craftsperson,” he said).
Their daughter, an only child who graduated from Helix High School around 1990 and attended Grossmont College, is an artist who was invited to help with any tile work involved. She lives in the Tierrasanta area.
Jess and Mary Lynn graduated from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and have boasted long careers in public art, including his work on the War Wemorial at San Diego State and work at Rady Children’s Hospital.
But before they can design the artwork, they need to know its location in The Village, they both said.
“We haven’t been told where it’s going in,” Jess said. “We’re supposed to get a packet” from the city on details.
Said Mary Lynn, who has delayed retirement for this possible assignment: “It makes a big difference before it’s planned. … We’re waiting to hear what’s going on.”
Jess has worked in clay, bronze, wood and other media, but said he’s interested in tapping La Mesa’s historical roots or image, such as Jewel of the Hills.
He said his work is “concept-driven” and wants to have a “center of interest type of place” where people can gather, such as public art installations at Children’s Hospital and SDSU.
What he doesn’t want to do, he said, is produce something that would have people say: “That doesn’t have anything to do with La Mesa.”
The Dominguezes have done public art for decades, including a concrete sculpture at Barnsdall Art Park in Los Angeles. (See it here.) Jess, 71, also created the bronze sculpture of former Padres owner Ray Kroc at Qualcomm Stadium and the Veterans War Memorial at San Diego State University.
He once was a member of the Port of San Diego’s public art committee.
Jess Dominguez was professor of art at the School of Art, Design, and Art History at San Diego State University and retired in 2002 after 26 years, he said.
Mary Lynn Dominguez has created works for Terminal 2 at Lindbergh Field and four 40-foot mosaic and slate walls near the Lomas Santa Fe off-ramp of Interstate 5 in Solana Beach. She collaborated with Jess and another artist on the Children’s Wall at Children’s Hospital.
Her work also is on display at the entrance to the Imperial Beach Pier—mosaic glass tiles on the seawall.
Original story from Jan. 31, 2012
Five artists from La Mesa are among the 11 “initial finalists” for the $125,000 Centennial Legacy Project, according to the City Hall application site Planet Bids.
Only two applicants are from out of state—Mike Mandel of Watertown, MA, and Michael Clapper Studios of Denver. In October, more than 60 artists or groups expressed an interest in creating the work of donor-financed public art to be displayed in The Village.
Not making the cut was the only international entrant—Tony Stallard of Essex, England, famed for hanging a giant illuminated Titanic model at the site of its original Belfast shipyard.
Assistant City Manager Yvonne Garrett, who also serves as secretary to the volunteer La Mesa Centennial Committee, said Tuesday that “we will [be] narrowing down the field some more.”
She called the 11 applicants currently listed on Planet Bids as having been responsive as “initial finalists” and added, via email: “We should be announcing soon the finalists.”
The La Mesa finalists are:
- Regan Drasko of Stoneworks, 10825 Puebla Drive
- Jesus Dominguez, 9180 Shirley Drive
- John Fonseca Sr. of Fonsecas Design Shop, 8240 Parkway Drive
- Jeanne Whalen of Wall-it Graphics, 4475 Normandie Place
- Jennifer While, 5181 Dailey Court
Elsewhere in the county, Paul Hobson of San Diego-based Paul Hobson Studio is a finalist. But James T. Hubbell of Santa Ysabel, a renowned local artist and architect, is not a finalist, according to Planet Bids.
Other applicants still in the running:
- Timothy Maloney and Jeffrey Crumbaker of Community Works Design Group of Riverside
- Mark Grieve of Mark Grieve Creative Fabrication of Petaluma
- And Christian Stayner of Los Angeles
The project is expected to be built in 2013, with money raised by the Centennial Volunteer Finance Committee, chaired by Councilman Ernie Ewin.
Last fall, Garrett said on the vendor site that finalists would receive an honorarium not to exceed $1,500 to develop and present a design concept for the project.
The Legacy Project Committee, a subcommittee of the Centennial Committee, would evaluate proposals and make final selection recommendations to the larger group and the City Council, Garrett said.
The project site is undecided but will be on city-owned property. Final site selection will be made by the La Mesa City Council.
The city, meanwhile, is weeks behind its original projected timeline:
- RFQ released: September 7, 2011
- Submission due: October 21, 2011 (no later than 4 p.m.)
- Applicants/finalists selected: November 2011
- Finalists interviews: November 2011
- Finalists selected: November 2011
- Honorarium paid: November 2011
- Site options determined: November 2011
- Proposals and preliminary cost estimates due: February 28, 2012
- Approvals process: March 2012
- Artist notification: April 2012
- Contract negotiation and preparation: May 2012
- Artists to work with city staff and committee to develop project: June 2012
- Completion and installation of project: 2013