Monday, August 13, 2012

North Long Beach Mosaic

Today's mosaic is in Long Beach, a recent addition to the city's public art. It's located in North Long Beach at Paramount and Artesia Blvd, in front of Paramount Petroleum. The dedication was in December, 2010.

The mosaic--Byzantine glass smalti--sits on a stainless steel sculpture, and is by artist Terry Braunstein, a Long Beach resident. Unfortunately, her website--filled with exquisite examples of her art, sculpture, and photography, has not been updated in several years. so this piece is not mentioned there.

That's Braunstein in the photo, and the photo came from an alumni web page--but I suspect it was originally found in the Long Beach Press Telegram--though it's been archived now.

Here's a statement about the artwork printed at Mosaika's blog--Mosaika being the company that fabricated the piece(s). The picture at left is from that blog as well.

This sculpture depicts workers constructing the future of the world. The work symbolizes the contributions of the largely working class, who live in this area of North Long Beach, and who take great pride in what they produce. These three workers, two men and a woman, are similar to those who work in the petroleum refinery adjacent to this small park. Two people are shown as Diego Rivera figures from the 1930s, when Long Beach began to develop as a city, and one person as a contemporary man.

The project cost $430,000 according to articles in the Signal Tribune and, and Paramount Petroleum kicked in about a third of that. The Long Beach Redevelopment Agency was responsible for bringing this and other works of public art to the area, but I'm guessing that like most RDAs, that group is no more.

The idea of Long Beach's ethnically diverse population and position as an international port city is also part of the theme.

The LBRDA had big plans for North Long Beach--more art, getting chain restaurants and stores into the area, etc. Perhaps other benefactors can take up the baton?

That Signal Tribune article also says that Paramount Petroleum employees had input in the design of the artwork, which did not include hard hats and harnesses originally. They took photos of how workers would look performing the actual task, and the artist incorporated that into her design.

Terry Braunstein has been featured here before, for her open-book style mosaic in Cerritos, titled "Illumination."

She's also responsible for the enameled disks on pillars along the Blue Line station at Anaheim Street, and for the 15-foot tall sphere honoring the Navy on Queensway. But since those aren't mosaics they won't show up on future Mosaic Monday posts.

But they are lovely nonetheless.

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