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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator, (510) 981-7533

Public Art Sculptures for the I-80 Bike Bridge

Berkeley, California (Monday, September 22, 2008) - Berkeley, California (September 24, 2008)  Two new sculptures will stand tall on each side of the I-80 pedestrian bridge, introducing people to Berkeley and welcoming all comers.

Installation of the 12-foot tall sculptures, which will look over Interstate 80, has already begun, and will be completed in time for the October 18 dedication. The large figures will be seen by millions of motorists as they drive under the bridge and form an artistic entry way to Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The bridge crosses over Interstate 80, one of the most traveled freeways in California. At the west end of Addison Street, the Over Crossing provides bicycle, pedestrian and wheelchair access from Aquatic Park to the Berkeley Marina, where the future Bay Trail will link Berkeley to Albany and Emeryville.

The two monumental sculptures are, on closer look, clusters of figures made of fiberglass, steel and bronze, that symbolize the city, its people and its activities. The figure on the Addison Street side personifies the urban and cultural experience of Berkeley, including the University of California’s campanile, a violinist, a scientist, an activist, and a wheelchair-user. The figure on the Marina side represents recreation and nature, including bird watchers, kite flyers and a dog catching a Frisbee. Smaller images near the sculptures provide close-up views to thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists who use the bridge. 

The sculptures were created by Emeryville sculptor Scott Donahue. The award-winning artist has designed, fabricated and installed 19 permanent public art projects in California and Colorado.  He has also completed 39 temporary public art projects in the U.S. and Italy since 1980.  He received an MFA from the University of California, Davis in 1982 and a BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1973.

The multi-figured sculptures are the product of the City of Berkeley public art program, 1.5% for Art, which covered the design, engineering, fabrication, assembly and installation costs. In 2002, Berkeley Civic Arts Commission’s Public Art Program held a national competition for artists to create entry sculpture to the City of Berkeley. Donahue won that competition and created Berkeley Big People.

The sculptures are the product of extensive testing of design and materials to ensure stability and safety.   An Opening Celebration is planned for October 18 at 11:30 a.m. and the public is invited to attend.

To see pictures of this art go to the City of Berkeley web site: www.cityofberkeley.info and click on Arts and Culture on the left hand side.

For further information:

Call Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator 510/981-7533,  mam4@ci.berkeley.ca.us or Claudia Chapline, Public Art Consultant 415/868-2308, info@cchapline.com.


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