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Arts Commissioners Name Two Finalists For Newhall Roundabout Project Art Piece

The arts commissioners have narrowed it down to two proposals for the Newhall Roundabout Art Project from among six semi-finalists. Michael Clapper’s “Western Reel” and M.L. Duffy’s “Facing the Sun, Facing the Future” were selected as the two finalists. 


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The Newhall Roundabout Art Project involves implementing a public art piece that will be the focal point at the
intersection of Main Street, Newhall Avenue and Fifth Street. It is the City of Santa Clarita’s first roundabout and it is proposed to be constructed as as a part of Santa Clarita’s initiative to revive Old Town Newhall, according to city officials.

Michael Clapper’s “Western Reel”  is a mammoth and enormous film strip sculpture commemorating Santa Clarita’s history of serving as a backlot for Western films, such as Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch in Newhall.

"Portrayed on the film cells will be a stylized cowboy on a galloping horse... It offers timeless simplicity combined with the  site specific iconography of early Santa Clarita's Western film connection," according to a statement provided by the city. 

M.L. Duffy said his piece “Facing the Sun, Facing the Future”  is inspired by “Santa Clarita’s unique peoples and the original domestic architecture,” according to a statement provided by the city.

It is an adage to Santa Clarita’s past and future and draws its influences from Newhall's first residents, the Tataviam indian tribe in 450 AD.  

"When I brainstorming for the project, I was wondering 'Why did the Tataviam tribe want Santa Clarita to be their home?' Newhall, at the time, was in its own entity separate from everything else. However, once I got to Santa Clarita, I understood exactly why," said Duffy. 

"I was blown away by how nice the area was, and by creating a modern, contemporary version of the Tataviam home, I was hoping that the Newhall roundabout piece becomes a subconscious marker or indication of the sense of being at home or arriving at home," according to his statement.  

The Tataviam-tribe inspired piece will utilize metal bands to create the framework and will contain programmed LED lights slowly changing the color and tone of the piece.

“Each arts commissioner submitted their score for the concept proposals of the six semi-finalists. Clapper’s ‘Western Reel’ received a score of a 9 out of 10 and Duffy’s ‘Facing the Sun, Facing the Future’ received a score of 8.25 out of 10,” said  Ingrid Hardy, Community Services Superintendent.   

The two finalists' proposals are expected to be displayed at City Hall and online and will allow the general public to contribute their opinion as to which iconic piece should be featured in the Newhall Roundabout.

“We’re expecting to have the models of the proposals in City Hall by late July, if all goes as planned,” said Jeff Barber, City of Santa Clarita’s Arts and Events supervisor.

“We’d like the public’s input on the Newhall Roundabout project because it is a public piece. Ultimately, the arts commission will select the proposal and City Council will ratify it, but community input is very important in this particular project,” according to his statement.    

The city’s arts commissioners will request approval by the City Council for the final artist selection which will occur on Oct. 8.

KHTS AM 1220 was unable to reach Clapper for comment. 


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Arts Commissioners Name Two Finalists For Newhall Roundabout Project Art Piece


Article: Arts Commissioners Name Two Finalists For Newhall Roundabout Project Art Piece
Source: Santa Clarita News
Author: Luzzei Tsuji