Arroyo Grande’s second piece of public art could be unveiled by mid-October — a 6-foot-tall Japanese lantern sculpture that would be displayed at the entrance to a new People’s Self-Help Housing Corp. project.
The apartments were built on land that used to be covered in strawberries, and the People’s Self-Help board of directors decided they wanted to pursue a project to honor the Japanese-American farmworkers who used to labor there, board chair Carolyn Johnson said.
“As part of our mission is to serve farmworkers, we wanted to honor those folks,” Johnson told the Arroyo Grande City Council on Tuesday.
People’s Self-Help solicited proposals in July and chose a proposal from San Luis Obispo-based artist Jim Jacobson.
Several of his projects can be viewed in San Luis Obispo, including a sculpture near Mission Plaza representing the California sycamore tree and endangered Chorro Creek Bog Thistle; a “Peace, Harmony, Unity” mobile sculpture based on Japanese architectural designs at the city’s Promenade shopping center; and “Flames of Knowledge,” a mobile sculpture in front of the Parks and Recreation Department on Nipomo Street honoring children who attended school in the area.
Lanterns, Jacobson wrote in his proposal, were first used in ancient Shinto shrines and served as votive lights in the 16th century.
Jacobson proposed a lantern that would allow light to pass through on all four sides, with Japanese symbols on the sides and a steel hand hoe on the top to represent the type of tool used by past farmers.
The council took public comments Tuesday and offered input but didn’t vote on the project because it’s located on private property.
Council members called the project “fitting” for its location.
“It's a nice second effort,” Councilman Tim Brown said.
Now, the plan goes before the Arroyo Grande Public Art Committee, which will ensure it meets the city’s public art guidelines, committee chair Trudy Jarratt said.
Depending on how quickly the public art committee meets, Johnson said the lantern sculpture could be finished in time for an Oct. 16 grand opening event for the apartment project. The project budget is $6,500.
The city’s first piece of public art created under its public art program was unveiled in July. That piece is a large mural on the side of the former JJ’s Market building depicting scenes of life in the community in the early to mid-1900s.