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New park artwork aims to depict San Ramon Valley community

The San Ramon Arts Foundation and Arts Advisory Committee recently dedicated two new pieces of art in local parks. Dedication ceremonies were held on Sept. 28 and Oct. 12 to honor the new sculptures in Central Park and Athan Downs.

Massachusetts-based artist Dale Rogers designed the sculpture in Central Park, titled "People." He answered a call for public art proposals that the city sent out and was one of five finalists selected by the Arts Advisory Committee to commission a public art piece. Before he got to work, he visited San Ramon to get a feel for the city and learn the background of the town for inspiration.

Rogers worked closely with the Arts Advisory Committee in collaborating the final design for "People." He used COR-TEN steel to build a piece that depicts family, community, and togetherness.

"The arts council wanted a whimsical, uplifting piece about family," Rogers said, "and I wanted to tie in the San Ramon kite festival to give the piece an upward feeling."

Rogers added that the city of San Ramon itself has been planned well for growth of both the community and the arts, and that "People" is one of the pieces he's most proud of.

"People" is featured in Central Park, on the corner of Bollinger Canyon Road and Alcosta Blvd.

Another finalist chosen to design a public art piece was David Boyer, an artist who builds wind-driven kinetic sculptures. Kinetic sculptures contain parts that move and rely on motion to capture the full feeling of the art piece.

Boyer designed "Shadow Dancers" for Athan Downs park, and the piece relies on wind to propel the structures' moving elements. When the sun hits the sculpture, shadows appear and move on the ground as if they were dancing.

Kathi Heimann, the Program Manager of Parks & Community Services for the city of San Ramon, hopes that the movement of "Shadow Dancers" will inspire children to dance and play with the projected shadows.

"Shadow Dancers" is featured in Athan Downs, at 3001 Montevideo Dr.

San Ramon residents can rest assured that the city's local government is not frivolously spending money in these tough economic times. According to Heimann, the money for community art comes from the city's beautification fund--a fund designated solely for art and other projects designed to boost San Ramon's aesthetic appeal. The money from this fund cannot be put towards anything else that the city needs.

"Since we have the inspiration for art and the funds for it, we'll use both to beautify our community," Heimann said.

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