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By Roz Rogoff

Art in the Parks

Uploaded: Jan 23, 2011

On February 23, 2010 Will Doerlich, Vice Chairperson of the Arts Advisory Committee, presented the Committee's Annual Report. One of the goals Doerlich mentioned was to recruit new members. Four of the nine openings were vacant.

I thought this might be something I should apply for. I had unsuccessfully applied for the Parks & Community Services Commission, the Planning Commission, and the Economic Development Advisory Committee, but I felt that this time the time was right.

In 2000 I was appointed as the San Ramon representative to the Board of Directors of Community TV. I was not reappointed when my term expired in 2002, but I was selected by the TV Board as a Member at Large. In 2004 I ran for Director of the Dublin San Ramon Services District the first time; so I did not reapply for the TV Board.

In 2007 the Mayors of the four cities, Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, and San Ramon, took over as Directors of Community TV to get the stations back on sound financial footing. They are now, but many of the local shows were cut and the stations lost a lot of their appeal for me.

So when Doerlich made a pitch for membership in the Arts Advisory Committee this year, I decided to go for it. I was appointed on May 25, 2010 and attended my first meeting in June. The Committee meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Dougherty Valley Community Center.

As the name suggests, the Arts Advisory Committee gives advice to the Parks and Community Services Commission on the visual arts, performing arts, and with the addition of the poet laureate position a few years ago, the literary arts.

Venuetech Theater Management Company books the performers for the Performing Arts Center; so the Arts Advisory Committee doesn't have much input into those choices. The Committee plays a more active role in recommending Visual Arts, including the exhibits at the Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery in the San Ramon Community Center and Art in Public Places, such as parks and public buildings.

Two new pieces of Public Art were recently installed in our city's parks. Each of these represents something special about San Ramon. "People," by Dale Rogers, depicts a happy family with a mother and father and two children swinging from their parents' hands, enjoying the fountain behind the Community Center in Central Park.

The newest work, "Shadow Dancers" by David Boyer, celebrates San Ramon's windy heritage with five giant pinwheel-like structures, creating dancing shadows in Athan Down Park. Boyer placed the finishing touches on his art work on January 21st.

While there's nothing thematically controversial about the two sculptures described above, some people might quibble about spending money on art in this economy. These works are light-hearted and good natured but not frivolous. We are fortunate enough to live in a community where public art is a priority. Why shouldn't our parks be brightened up with a celebration of the human spirit?

Throughout history there have been artists who provided an alternate view of life, which has endured when so much of what was considered important at the time has not. Once again San Ramon is thinking not only of the present but the future. These wonderful pieces should delight children in the park, and when they grow up and have children, they will want to bring them to see them too.

So make some time to meet the "People" in Central Park and dance with the shadows in Athan Down. They are welcome additions to San Ramon.