The City of Fresno will officially unveil its newest piece of public art in a ceremony at Mariposa Plaza at noon Monday, Feb. 26. Here are five things to know about “Acero Picado,” a beautiful addition to the downtown arts scene:
“Acero Picado” consists of three designs, each consisting of two parts. The larger pieces are 10 feet by feet. The smaller pieces are 3 feet by 8 feet. Each piece is made of inch-thick steel that has been waterjet cut in very intricate patterns, then powder-coated with distinctive colors. Benches are part of the design.
The artist is a big deal.
Gordon Huether, a Napa sculptor, has created public art installations for universities, hospitals, recreation centers, civic buildings, libraries, museums, airports, transportation centers, parking garages, and private corporations throughout the world, according to his bio. In his biggest project to date, he’s working with the Salt Lake City International Airport Department of Airports in designing, fabricating and installing multi-million dollar installations for its Terminal Redevelopment Program, which will be completed in 2020.
Huether’s design studio has a staff of 13. It took about four months to complete “Acero Picado.”
“Everything I do is one of a kind,” Huether tells me in a phone interview.
The themes reflect the central San Joaquin Valley.
“Acero Picado” is inspired by papel picado, the well-known Mexican decorative craft made out of paper cut into beautiful and elaborate designs. There are three motifs: Butterflies, painted in Nester (red); Music, painted in Sea Foam Pearl (teal); and Farming, painted in New Tucker (orange).
“We wanted to bring some real vibrancy and color to that area,” Huether says.
The installation is just the first step in a revitalized Mariposa Plaza.
The City of Fresno received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town Program” to commission new interactive public art, city spokesman Mark Standriff tells me. The grant also develops a conceptual redesign of Mariposa Plaza that creates more vibrant and functional public space for festivals, social gatherings, and as an amenity for surrounding residents, merchants and workers.
The art plus installation cost $300,000.
“It’s going to be a great new plaza,” Huether says. “In the interim, we’re at least going to have this art installation.”
“Acero Picado” is going to be around a long time.
“We would like it to last for generations,” Huether says. “I think adults and children alike will find a lot of joy when they drive by or sit with them.”
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