One artwork captures the juxtaposition between human engineering and the fragile beauty of nature. Another artwork features solar panels that allude to alternate energy solutions. A third celebrates the vibrancy of San Diego nightlife.
All are among the creations that comprise the newest addition of the Urban Trees exhibits that were selected this month by the Port's Public Art Committee.
After reviewing 82 scale models of proposed sculptures, the committee selected 30 "trees" for the Urban Trees 7 exhibit that will be planted along the North Embarcadero later this year. The "trees" are artworks that are displayed in concrete planters to enliven the waterfront.
"Urban Trees has grown and evolved," said Vernon Franck, the City of San Diego's representative on the Urban Trees 7 selection panel. "This year's entries provided plenty to choose from and ranged from serious to whimsical."
Urban Trees 6, the sixth round of the public art program created by the Port, is currently on display. It stretches one-half mile along Harbor Drive between the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal and Hawthorn Street.
The artist's sculptures are mounted on steel poles in large concrete planters spaced 25 feet apart that serve as permanent bases for the changing crops of Urban Trees. The artists are given a $2,500 stipend to use for materials.
The Port's Public Art Program created this temporary exhibit to enliven the San Diego Bay waterfront and encourage people to stroll along the pedestrian promenade, enjoying both the artwork and spectacular waterfront views.
The Port of San Diego in 2008 received an Alonzo Award from the Downtown San Diego Partnership for the Urban Trees 5 exhibit. The award, named after pioneering developer Alonzo Horton, honors people, projects and programs that contribute to the revitalization of downtown.
The organization noted that Urban Trees has become a destination unto itself that has brought thousands of residents and visitors to the waterfront and has contributed to the revitalization of the downtown waterfront.
"The high-visibility venue on the Embarcadero gives the artists a fantastic opportunity for their work to be viewed," said Allan Tait, project manager in the Port's Public Art Department.
Many of the former Urban Trees are available for purchase. Interested buyers can contact the Port of San Diego's Public Art Department, at 619-686-7246, to be put in touch with the artist. The Port does not have any involvement in the sale or price negotiations, nor does it receive any percentage of the sale.
The Port has purchased some Urban Trees from past exhibits that can now be seen in the parks ringing San Diego Bay.
"Urban Trees 7 promises to be exciting," said Port Commissioner Michael Bixler, a member of the Public Art Committee. "Come see it later this year."