The City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division will present its fourth annual Fresh Art exhibition at Clover Park in Santa Monica later this month.

Mike Hootman and Lawrence Scarpa have been selected this year to create artwork specifically for Clover Park, located at 2600 Ocean Park Blvd. Park officials say the work is harmonious with the site.

Installation of the temporary artwork is to begin Monday, September 13th, and the public is invited to the unveiling and opening reception for the artists at the park from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 18th.

This year”s exhibits will remain at Clover Park until the Thanksgiving weekend.

Fresh Art, a program to assist Santa Monica artists in learning how to compete for and complete public art projects, is limited to artists who live or work in Santa Monica.

ìThis program gives artists the opportunity to work in their community and learn how to work with the government and public sectors, which is very different than working in a studio,î says Hamp Simmons, Santa Monica city cultural affairs coordinator.

Simmons said the program mostly benefits emerging artists who haven”t done much public art.

Proposals are submitted to the city Cultural Affairs Division and are then reviewed by a panel of arts administrators and artists. The proposals are judged on artistic merit, how well the artwork engages the community and how well it works with the park.

After review, the panel chooses a number of finalists to flesh out their proposals.

Up to four artists are then chosen and given a budget of $5,000 each to create their piece.

Hootman”s piece, titled ì78/120/95,î relates to the aeronautical history of Clover Park.

He will paint his art on the grass at Clover Park with environmentally friendly paint that won”t harm the grass.

Scarpa will create a bench out of recycled wood for his piece, ìLiquidWood.î

ìClover Park is an ideal site for Fresh Art, due to the variety of challenges it presents for public art display, the diversity of its users, and its accessibility, including public parking,î said Simmons.

The art event is also one of Santa Monica”s most popular and well-trafficked open spaces, according to city officials.

Besides giving local artists exposure and the chance to work in their community, the Fresh Art program provides Santa Monica with an opportunity to increase its pool of local artists who have direct knowledge in the complexities of creating public art, according to Simmons.

ìMany public art projects have a budget of $100,000 and many are much more,î said Simmons.

The majority of public art commissions that Santa Monica has awarded have been large in scale and in budget, requiring the services of very experienced artists, he added.

ìFresh Art teaches artists how to work with the community and the demands of the government,î he said.

Each governmental department, such as the Santa Monica Department of Public Safety or the Santa Monica Department of Parks and Recreation, has its own concerns, Simmons added.

ìIf it”s physically possible for someone to climb on an art piece, someone will,î he said. ìIf someone can break the artwork, someone will. If it”s too big it may impede soccer games, which would create a problem.î

As a result, various governmental departments address their specific issues regarding the artwork and artists need to learn to work with these departments to adjust designs and concepts if necessary, according to Simmons.

Artist Marc Pally, coordinator of the Fresh Art project, has taught public art at universities and works closely with the selected artists to guide them through the process.

Simmons said that several previous winners in the Fresh Art program have later received professional commissions.

Among these are Abbie Baron-Morganstein, a winner last year, who has been commissioned to create art for the new Euclid Park, which will be near the Santa Monica Historical Society.

Artists Claudia Reisenberger and Franka Diehnelt, who make up Merge Conceptual Design, were also selected last year in the Fresh Art program and have since completed a permanent public art project in Pasadena as well as temporary installations in Southern California and Europe.

To reach Julie Kirst:

jkmailtalk@yahoo.com

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