Council seeks another site for transit center sculpture

An artist’s depiction of the “Gatewave,” made of aluminum and wood, created by sculptor Volkan Alkanoglu of Portland, Ore.

by Garth Meyer

Will the “Gatewave” be too hidden?

Public art approved 10 years ago for the new Redondo Beach Transit center being built was the subject of debate, and a vote at the Nov. 2 city council meeting — to look at other sites for it, and possibly commission a new, smaller piece for the front of the transit center. 

The “Gatewave,” a sculpture by Portland, Ore.-based artist Volkan Alkanoglu, is set to be placed at the back of the center. 

A discussion followed on whether the $250,000 budget for the installation could be lowered, or the project installed elsewhere. 

“This is just too much money,” said Councilman Nils Nehrenheim. “Beautiful art, but.”

“If we want to move this to the front… we’re going to have to look far afield of the transit center,” said Mike Witzansky, new city manager.
Nehrenheim indicated $175,000 is as high as he will go. 

Councilman Todd Loewenstein suggested The Strand, at Harbor Drive and Herondo Street as a possible location. 

The art cannot be located at the originally proposed location, in the front of the transit center because of room needed for bus circulation. 

“Public art in unexpected places (is good). My fear is if we move this, there will never be public art at the transit center,” said councilmember Laura Emdee. 

As part of the center’s funding, by Measure M, one percent of the cost goes to public art. This added up to nearly $40,000, from the center’s $4 million budget. The city funded the rest from its own public art fund. 

“You might be chasing your tail finding a better spot,” resident Paul Moses, an original member of the transit center public art committee, told the council. “It was meant for the transit center.”

A motion was made to find another location, and commission smaller, less-expensive art for the transit pad. The city currently has between $800,000-$900,000 in its public art fund. 

The vote was 4-1, with Emdee voting no.

A status report is to be presented to the council in January.

If the “Gatewave” is moved from the transit center, the city will lose $75,000 from a grant tied to the center by Measure M.

Alkanoglu has grown in prominence since the “Gatewave” was commissioned.

“That was when he was just starting out. Now his pieces are millions of dollars,” Emdee said.

The transit center is expected to be finished next spring. ER

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