‘Missing’ El Cerrito sculptures are safe and sound

Copper is a hot commodity on the late-night theft market and the vulnerability of 12 copper sculptures along San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito have had some in the community concerned.
The first of the copper dozen was installed last December as part of the city’s $100,000 San Pablo Avenue Streetscape Project.
A reader post Sept. 18 on El Cerrito Patch feared the worst, noting that two of the kinetic pieces were missing:

Another copper light-pole sculpture is gone. The twirling circles on Potrero and San Pablo. Isn’t that 2 down in the past couple weeks? Very frustrating that someone would do that, but also starting to feel like a big waste of money. Sad!

But it turns out the two pieces weren’t stolen, just in the shop for some minor adjustments.
City Hall got wind of the public’s concern and Community Outreach Specialist Suzanne Iarla sent the following reassurance (and invitation to take a walking tour to see all the installations):

As you may know, over the past few months, a series of copper wind sculptures have been installed along San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito.

The works are part of a public art project commissioned by the city called “12 Wind Sculptures.” Currently the artists are still in the final stages of completing their work and have been temporarily removing sculptures (a few at a time) to make final adjustments to the sculptures in their studios.

You can assure your readers that none of the sculptures are “missing” — the pieces are simply being worked on by the artists and will be back up on the light poles soon. Anyone with questions (or feedback!) about the art are welcome to contact me.

The 12 wind sculptures were commissioned by the City and made by local artists Jonathan Russell and Saori Ide. The metal sculptures are located along San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. There are 2 near Carlson Blvd, three near City Hall, two near Potrero Ave, three near Safeway/Del Norte BART, and two near Conlon Ave.

Currently, there are three sculptures that have been removed (one from Potrero and two near Safeway). These should be re-installed by the end of the month. And, just as a heads-up, the artists are planning to take down some other sculptures in November to make the necessary adjustments to them.

All 12 sculptures will be in place during October, which is National Arts and Humanities Month. Staff is planning to provide the City Council and public with an update on the project at the October 1st City Council meeting, and the City’s Arts and Culture Commission is encouraging the public to take a self-guided tour along the Avenue to see the new art works during October as part of Arts Month.

Chris Treadway

  • Roxy Miravalle

    I have a video of the Potrero sculpture as it was gently turning in the late afternoon wind. The day I noticed the sculptures, I was immediately filled with a sense of delight to be able to view something so captivating while waiting in the unavoidable traffic maze on my way home.

  • Robertjm

    The city also posted signs at the missing sculpture location for those who were wondering.