City Puts Physical Public Art Proposals up for Review

Courtesy photo    A Rockspinner is one of the public art proposals the City of Alameda is considering.

Last year the City of Alameda released a request for proposals for physical public art. Now through Monday, June 4, finalist proposals in the $150,000 and $50,000 categories are on display on the second floor of the Alameda Main Library at 1550 Oak St. Finalist proposals are also available for review and download on the city website at

Proposals in all award categories will go before the Public Art Commission at its Monday, June 18, meeting. The commission will choose the top proposal in each category, subject to approval and appropriation of funds by the City Council. 

The city seeks public comment on these proposals. Members of the public can comment via an online survey at or email at The public is invited to the June 18 meeting to provide oral comments.

In September 2017, the city of Alameda requested proposals for $262,500 in physical public art from funding contributed by residential and commercial development projects. Awards fell into four categories:
• One $150,000 award
• One $50,000 award
• Two $25,000 awards
• One $12,500 award

In February and March 2018, a selection panel appointed by the Public Art Commission reviewed and ranked applications according to established selection criteria. Finalists in the $150,000 and $50,000 categories were given 10 weeks to compose a more detailed proposal, including scale models or renderings of proposed works.

Finalists in the $150,000 award category include Rockspinners, Bronze Squid and Dragon Dance.

Rockspinner is a multi-ton boulder, which can be spun easily and silently with a single push, compelling viewers to interact and explore while creating a sense of place and an opportunity for fun. This artwork, which includes two Rockspinners, is proposed for one of two possible locations: one Rockspinner on each side of the Bay Farm Bridge or two Rockspinners at the natural playground at Jean Sweeney Park.

Bronze Squid is a 12-foot tall bronze squid sculpture envisioned as a design object rather than a realistic animal, with the tentacles working as arches or columns, allowing people to walk in the space they create. The proposed location for the sculpture is on the Bay Trail at West Hornet Avenue.

Dragon Dance is a sculpture representing two dragons dancing and interacting with each other. Dragons will be looked at from afar as if hovering over the water against the backdrop of the horizon. The proposed location for this artwork is the Main Street Ferry Terminal.

Finalists in the $50,000 award category include Mosaic Seat Wall Insets and Gateway Columns. 
The Mosaic Seat Wall Insets are custom glass mosaic insets with themes corresponding to flowers, compass, rails and the ocean proposed for four medallion seatwalls located in plazas throughout Jean Sweeney Park.

Gateway Columns features two columns forming a gateway symbolizing Alameda as the gateway for prospectors and the railroad heading east. The sculpture aims to celebrate Alameda as a biological gateway as well as a historical one. The proposed location for this artwork is the western medallion plaza at Jean Sweeney Park.