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Fulton Street art pieces installed on Mariposa Plaza

Acero Picado in Mariposa Plaza, Fulton and Mariposa Streets.

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Fulton Street art pieces installed on Mariposa Plaza

Napa artist Gordon Huether completes and installs “Acero Picado” on Fulton Street and may show a glimpse of the new Mariposa Plaza.

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FACTS

The new $200,000 piece of public art is ready for enjoyment in Downtown Fresno’s renovated Fulton Street located in Mariposa Plaza. Most of the money for the art, $150,000, was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Request for Quotation (RFQ) stated,

“…The project is expected to better integrate the plaza into the robust collection of public art works along Fulton Mall as well as new high-speed rail and bus rapid transit stations being built less than two blocks away… Mariposa Plaza sits amidst high-poverty census tracts, and the enhanced public space will serve an estimated 1.5 million passersby and event visitors annually, approximately two-thirds of whom identify as Latino.”

The art titled “Acero Picado” was completed by Napa artist Gordon Huether whose work includes art pieces for Salt Lake City Airport, BART in the Bay Area, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library. According to Huether’s website, the Fulton art is

“ … a trio of paired arched gateways and panels inspired by the intricate paper cuts of traditional Mexican papel picado folk art…”

The City partnered with Wallace, Roberts and Todd, a landscape architecture firm, and others for the design of Mariposa Plaza since it was not part of the Fulton Street revitalization. The art piece seems to be the first step in changing the Plaza.

The selection of Gordon Huether was met with opposition from Fresno City Council Member Esmeralda Soria last year because no local artists applied, and all five interested applicants were from out-of-town. Instead of allowing more time for local artists to bid on the project, the Fresno City Council moved forward after discovering the grant would be lost if not approved at the time.

When asked about the “Acero Picado,” City Council Member Oliver Baines said,

“Downtown Fresno belongs to everyone, and that’s why I’m proud to have been part of the public conversation we had that eventually brought this beautiful new work to the plaza. It’s a terrific complement to the public art already on Fulton Street and builds on the incredible momentum for our vibrant new downtown.”

The official unveiling will be on February 26, 2018.

OPINION

I don’t get it. The pieces are nice, but not worth $200,000 and does nothing to engage individuals or families on a daily basis.

Beyond the sticker shock, the three arched gateways are awkwardly positioned in Mariposa Plaza. The desire is for a functional Mariposa Plaza one day, but the placement will prevent the current street vendors from having prime location and will limit the amount of viewing area for large events.

The Fulton Street has incredible potential and we all want to see it thriving and it desperately needs a boost from somewhere.

Selecting the art piece and later redesigning the entire Plaza seems backwards. Mariposa Plaza has so much potential, but now the usable space is slowly shrinking. Instead of placing it on Fulton Street, it should have been on the opposite side to hide the alley, or at least try to hide the alley.

Does it match the other Fulton Street art? No answer would satisfy artists so I’m not going to even try; however, it does not.

The art reminds me of a Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico; on the other hand, it will serve as a nice background for Fresnans to take selfies so that’s a win right?

 

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Guillermo Moreno

Guillermo Moreno is Editor-in-Chief of CVObserver and radio host on PowerTalk 96.7. A Valley native, Moreno is a graduate of Michigan Law School, Andrews University and San Joaquin Memorial High School.

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