Creating A Lasting Legacy Of 2012

LA MESA -- Among the many Centennial activities that have been underway this 100th year in La Mesa's history is one effort that will leave a lasting impression on the city.

A subcommittee -- the Centennial Legacy Project -- has been raising money and considering proposals from artists for a Centennial legacy installation that will be permanently constructed in the small "island" at the eastern end of Allison Avenue at the intersection with La Mesa Boulevard and 4th Street.
The committee's jury, which included Mayor Art Madrid, City Councilman Mark Arapostathis and local resident Carol Lockwood has decided on an installation work called "The Lookout" by artists Jesus (Jess) Dominguez,  Mary Lynn Dominguez,  and Amy Dominguez.

The Dominquez historic gazebo will be constructed to include historic references to the city's first 100 years and will include a seating area, landscape and a signature large snail, a reference to the helix-shelled native of this area that gave Mt. Helix its name. La Mesa Today conducted a question and answer with committee co-chairwoman, La Mesa architect MIchele Hottel.

LA MESA TODAY: How would you describe the final choice for this Centennial Legacy project?

HOTTEL (photo right): I think that the final choice for the Legacy Project is a good fit for La Mesa. The gazebo form of the structure is traditional but the materials are more modern. The panels will have a historical teaching piece about the history of the city in mosaic tile. The design of the large bronze Helix snail has a playfulness to it but also tells the story of Mount Helix's namesake and the area's malacology discovery. The wavy seat wall, which we hope the fundraising effort will incorporate, is conducive to "place-making", and the project seems to be an addition to the downtown area that people will make people say, "Meet me at The Lookout!"

LA MESA TODAY: The typical centennial memorial would include a statute of a city father or an  emblem for the city. This clearly goes in a more creative direction. What do you think the jurors were saying in selecting this?

HOTTEL: I think that the La Mesa Centennial Legacy Project is more about the past, present, and future of the city and not a memorial to a certain person or an emblem for the city. As it was stated in the Request for Qualifications and the Request for Proposals (Reflect the small town village feel...) the art piece should commemorate those ideas. I think that the three finalist submissions all were good proposals, but the one that was chosen subscribed more to placemaking and incorporating all of the educational, historical, and donor wall and time capsule elements most effectively. The designers chosen put their feelings about living in La Mesa and their research into the history of the city into their design and it showed in their presentation.

LA MESA TODAY: How long will it take to build and how much more money is needed to fund it? Is
there a timetable?

HOTTEL: I believe it could be constructed in twelve months if all of the funds were in place. We would like to see it completed by the end of 2013. I think that we could be close to our fundraising goals if all of the Centennial merchandise was sold, the Gala "Party of the Century" tickets are sold-out, and there were donations from individuals and families who would like to see the project built. It would also be nice to include the features of the curved seat wall and a water fountain that are not in the current fundraising budget but would be a great asset to the Village area.

LA MESA TODAY: Has the city figured how the La Mesa Boulevard redesign streetscape project will work with this new installation?

HOTTEL: There have been some design ideas for streetscape of that area and other typical
areas in the village that the city has been looking at that include new
streetlights, sidewalks, enlarging that island area (pictured right), and paving and planting  materials.  The final artists were given those designs as part of their  information packet.  All of the teams submissions worked with the larger  island and worked with the new streetlight.  The design and the paving and  planting materials were all designed to be incorporated into the proposed  streetscape designs in each unique solution.

LA MESA TODAY: Where can donations be made?

HOTTEL:  You can make donations with a check or credit card to the "La Mesa Centennial "c/o La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa, CA
91941, or call 619-667-1300.  Donations of over $500 will be included on the Donor space on the Legacy Project and all donors names will be in the time capsule.


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Comment by michele grace hottel on October 12, 2012 at 3:28pm

Stephanie, I would love to have you come to our La Mesa Arts Alliance meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 3:30 p.m. in the conference room of the La Mesa Community Center; we always need volunteers and perhaps you can share your view of what "public art" is.

Comment by Stephanie Murphy on October 9, 2012 at 4:23pm

I don't care for public art that does not reflect the character of the community.  We moved to La Mesa for a more traditional old town California feel and urban art, like the Centennial piece doesn't fit here.  I feel the same way about the "new" street and city signage.  And, I just have to say that while I applaud the young artist's desire to beautify the community and deter graffiti, I think the painted utility boxes are horrendous eyesores and pray they don't come to my neighborhood. 

Comment by Patricia I. O'Reilly on October 9, 2012 at 4:05pm

What a wonderful plan!  I can hardly wait to see it realized.

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