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ARTIC Project Seeks Public Art Bids

By Michael Buss, 2011-05-18
Anaheim is an exciting place to live. It is home or host to so many great destinations, teams and venues. But all of that means travel just get here and back.

The City is planning to build a huge travel interchange near the Angels Stadium that will connect rail, bus, shuttle and freeway together as a transport hub. ARTIC the Anaheim Regional Transport Intermodal Center - might well catapult the City of Anaheim and Orange County as globally recognized leaders for its transportation systems and the destinations it serves.

Why do we report on this? This is an arts website. Sure, but architecture is art, three-dimensional, inhabitable art. Architecture, that is, that has been designed to create inspirational ambience, that intends to please the eye and lift the soul. And we grant that some so-called architecture is purely functional, tedious, even oppressive. But when its successful (take me back to Rome, please) whole communities are energized in celebration of human ingenuity.

The designs for the ARTIC leave you with a WOW! And like many other travel interchanges the complex itself would not be complete without Public Art.

Have you noticed the interactive lighting that straddles the terminal and the parking lot at Boston International Airport? Its huge fun. Or the metaphors for aircraft that hang inside Portland International? Or the luggage sculptures at Sacramento? Even LAX has more than a smattering of art.

One of several huge murals at LAX

So Well done, Anaheim! for putting out the call for artists to tender for public art in the ARTIC building. The awards will go to projects ranging from $100,00 to a little under a million. Depending on the successful submissions that money might go a long way.

Tendering for public art is an anxious business. It takes time and money. Apart from the preparation of portfolios, artists will generate new designs, make scale models, determine the materials to be used, figure out construction and transport details. And if they fail at tender all that work may come to nothing.

The Well of Joy glass drinking fountains around
the lake at Tualatin Commons were designed by
artist Linda Ethier.

Even when its installed problems may still abound. I attended the unveiling of some beautiful fused glass drinking water fountains in Tualatin, Oregon, some 15 years ago. Within a short while they were vandalized and the artist was required to make good the damage without further payment.

My own great- great grandfather bid for the provision of huge new murals for the Palace of Westminster, England, in the mid-1840s. He spent weeks preparing his mock ups, mock-ups so big he had to lay them out in the back yard and then climb to the top of the house and look down to get the right effect. He did not get the job, and meantime there was little income for his growing family. Bidding for public art is an expensive process that can have large financial ramifications.

The City of Anaheim is seeking a variety of potential artwork(s) to be included in the ARTIC Project. Budgets for the proposed artworks can range from $100,000 to $900,000. Artwork that is being sought in this procurement process will be installed on the site or within the terminal building in early to mid 2014. The City is looking for creativity and imagination in the development of the artwork submittals.

Knowse to the Grindstone. Center Street Promenade.

"ARTIC itself will be an iconic design. The addition of public art will add to the cultural importance of this exciting project" said Mayor Tom Tait, who declared himself to be a great supporter of the arts in his inaugural address.

The City hosted a Pre-Submittal Conference on May 18, 2011 for those interested in providing public art for the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center project. The final date for submissions is July 1st.

As and when funds flow back into public coffers it will be good to resume the beautification of downtown Anaheim.



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