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Laguna art college unveils ‘Canyon Walkers,’ replacing ‘kneeling women’ statues

The Laguna College of Art + Design unveiled a new artwork Thursday afternoon called "Canyon Walkers," replacing two demolished "kneeling women" statues at the Laguna Beach campus.

"Canyon Walkers," a trio of "heroic-scale figurative sculptures" conceived and designed by Brittany Ryan, has been installed along Laguna Canyon Road at LCAD's main campus.

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Ryan led a team of sculptors — Charlie Goering, Elizabeth Alvarez, Maxwell Gerber and Atiyeh Hess — on the project, which began in January 2016.

The three sculptures are individually named "The Art Student," "Hiker and Companion" and "Traveler."

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"'Canyon Walkers' will complement and capture the free-thinking artistic spirit of Laguna Canyon," LCAD President Jonathan Burke said in a statement. "Each figure tells a story of Laguna Canyon archetypes whose stories in this unique environment will live on for future generations."

Two "kneeling women" statues fronting the school were demolished March 21, though a third, which had been displayed elsewhere at LCAD, was kept for posterity. The plaster statues, twice the size of a real woman, were part of a class project in which faculty picked the best work.

Three students — Julio Reyes, Candace Bohannon and Amanda Gress — molded and cast what became the final statues.

As conspicuous fixtures on Laguna Canyon Road for some 10 years, they became a landmark for thousands of drivers passing them daily.

School officials said the statues were never meant to be permanent. Given their proximity to the ocean, they had become degraded over the years and needed repairs.

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