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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Rench & Weiner

Uploaded: Jun 21, 2013
This blog isn't about fixing my barbecue for the 4th of July. Chris Rench (not wrench) is the artist hired to design a sculpture for the San Ramon Sports Park, and Weiner, is Madeline Weiner, the sculptor hired to design a piece of art for Athan Downs Park.

I've written two previous blogs about projects for the Arts Advisory Committee. Last November I wrote about meeting sculptor Chris Rench at the San Ramon Sports Park to prepare to the design of a work to fit into that park.

Mr. Rench went through several iterations in the design of the art work until the Arts Advisory Committee unanimously agreed on his design titled Huddle Up, which is pictured in Jessica Lipsky's story on the Main page.

The conceptual drawing for Huddle Up was approved by the Parks and Community Services Commission on June 12th. Now Rench's art work moves from concept to construction, while another art work for Athan Downs Park begins the planning phase of development.

Madeline Weiner was selected to design and produce a sculpture to honor the late Byron Athan as part of his namesake park. When the Committee was evaluating artists for the different locations, Madeline Weiner was a unanimous pick. She works in stone, while Rench's Huddle Up is metal. So Weiner's work will be entirely different from Rench's. However her process is more expensive. So keeping within the agreed upon budget is another factor affecting the size and complexity of the piece she designs.

The Arts Advisory Committee held our June 19th meeting at Athan Downs Park an hour and a half earlier than usual. After a brief but official Arts Advisory Committee meeting, the meeting was adjourned to greet Madeline Weiner.

She met earlier with By Athan's sons, George and Ted, and his widow, Mary to learn more about By as a person and family man. At our Committee meeting she discussed ideas for her work based on what she learned about By. She was very impressed, as we all are, by what a wonderful person By Athan was.

After Madeline explained how she works and the kind of work she is considering for this project, the group toured the park to look at possible locations for the sculpture. One that stood out is a berm near the tennis courts. By loved to play tennis and continued to play until the age of 90. So that is one factor in selecting the location.

Mrs. Weiner wants to carve reliefs in the stone representing By's achievements and passions. She would like to include a quip or quote he's known for saying. If anyone reading this blog would like to contribute your recollections of By's favorite sayings, please do. Community input will be available online through the Open San Ramon website and at the City's table at Farmer's Markets.

After my experience with the growth and changes Chris Rench made to his original concept, which resulted in something completely different from where he started, I expect a similar back and forth development for Madeline Weiner's plans for Athan Downs.

By Athan was such an important person in the growth and development of San Ramon as a city and especially the parks for which San Ramon is so famous. So as one artwork finishes one phase of development and begins another, another art work starts that first phase, and on and on we go.

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