Artist Chosen for Boulevard Streetscape Project | Print |  E-mail
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Thursday, 03 March 2011 15:37

 

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Bay Area artist Miriam Klein Stahl during her presentation to the Streetscape artist selection committee.

 

 

By Terry Liebowitz

CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

 

After months of proposals, presentations, interviews, and community feedback, Miriam Klein Stahl, in collaboration with Pippa Murray Mosaics, has been chosen to create the artwork for Castro Valley’s Streetscape Improvement Project.


Their work will be inset in the 35 seat blocks and two gateway markers on the Boulevard. The long awaited top-dressing of the Castro Valley thoroughfare should be completed by early next year, finishing a five-year, $9 million project funded by the County Redevelopment Agency.


Miriam Klein Stahl is a Bay Area artist and educator. She teaches drawing, printmaking and photography at Berkeley High School and is currently co-director of the Arts and Humanities Academy at Berkeley High.


Pippa Murray is a mosaic artist who specializes in large scale installations. Murray’s studio is in Sausalito.


In preparation for her proposal, Stahl spent a lot of time in Castro Valley. Her images included Castro Valley native plants, silhouettes of the surrounding hills and canyons, local landmarks, and community activities. These familiar images will be transformed into marble mosaics within granite slabs.


Choosing Stahl was a long and careful process that started last fall. After narrowing the artist pool, the selection panel met in early January to interview the six finalists. The selection committee included seven Castro Valley residents, County staff and arts professionals.


The artists presented samples of their proposals and described their plans for the benches and gateway markers. An important element of the selection process were the comments submitted by more than a thousand community members during the five weeks the proposals were on view at the Bank of the West and the Castro Valley Library.

In the end, Stahl’s work stood out for its unique, hand-crafted style and its vibrant reflection of the special characteristics of Castro Valley.


In response to community comments, Stahl and Murray were asked to make a few changes in their proposal: more durable granite was substituted for limestone, more colorful stone will be included; and the proposal images will be expanded to include such Castro Valley icons as the new Library and the Center for the Arts.


The artists presented their revised proposals on Feb. 10 and it was at that meeting that the panel members recommended awarding Stahl and Murray the contract.


The Alameda County Public Art Advisory Committee approved the selection panel recommendation a few days later. The artwork proposal will be presented as an informational item to the CV Redevelopment Advisory Committee at 12:30 p.m. next Wednesday at the Library and  the Alameda County Arts Commission will vote on the proposal at their monthly meeting at 4 p.m. the same day in Oakland.


The artists’ contract will be presented to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors for approval in late March.


For more information about the Streetscape Improvement Project, contact the Redevelopment Agency at 670-5333. For more information about the public art component of this project, call the County Arts Commission at 208-9646. Images of Stahl’s revised proposal will be on the Arts Commission website at www.acgov.org/arts.

 

Terry Liebowitz is a founding member of the Castro Valley Arts Foundation and was a member of the art selection panel.

 

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