New Public Art in Place on North Shore

File photo &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp “Dance of Indians at Mission in San Jose, New California,” April 21, 1806, by Dr. Georg Langsdorff gives moderns a window into Ohlone culture.

New Public Art in Place on North Shore


Local residents have reported craning necks or nearly driving off the road to catch a glimpse of Alameda’s newest landmark public art at Buena Vista Avenue and Entrance Road. Designed to complement the Marina Shores development via Alameda’s Public Art Ordinance requirement, the sculptures bring to life the city’s original inhabitants, the Ohlone Tribe.

Auburn-based sculptor Jennifer Johnson created the dancing tribesmen from recycled metal. Johnson also created reproductions of Ohlone watercraft: rafts made of tule reeds. Further references to the Ohlone are made in Marina Shores’ new street names: Balsa and Saka, both native words for tule rafts.

The sculptures instanly recall a drawing dating back to 1806 capturing Ohlone tribesmen in their ceremonial dress at Mission San Jose in Fremont. A Russian scientific expedition brought along Dr. Georg Langsdorff who captured the Native Americans’ appearance on paper (see picture on front page).

In other public art news, the City of Alameda Public Art Commission was expected to meet yesterday to discuss furthering the city’s effort to create such art. Local proponents of public art have been attempting to have commissioners revise the city’s practices for requesting proposals, disbursing funds and other public art concerns.