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Laguna college removes ‘kneeling women’ statues after 10 years at front of campus

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Half of one of the “kneeling women” statues is removed from the front of the Laguna College of Art + Design on Laguna Canyon Road on Wednesday. The two statues had been there for about 10 years and will be replaced with new artwork.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Laguna College of Art + Design demolished two of its “kneeling women” statues Wednesday.

The plaster statues were placid-looking, topless women kneeling and resting their arms on their knees. As conspicuous fixtures fronting the school’s Laguna Canyon Road campus for some 10 years, they became a familiar landmark for thousands of drivers passing them daily.

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

In the ladies’ place, LCAD officials are unveiling a new artwork at the Laguna Beach campus at 3 p.m. on April 26.

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The head and shoulders of one of the “kneeling women” statues is removed from the front of the Laguna College of Art + Design campus Wednesday. The statues were originally part of a student project more than 10 years ago.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer )

“Canyon Walkers” is a trio of “heroic-scale figurative sculptures” conceived and designed by Brittany Ryan. She led a team of sculptors — Charlie Goering, Elizabeth Alvarez, Maxwell Gerber and Atiyeh Hess — who have worked on the project, which began in January 2016.

The sculptures are individually named “The Art Student,” “Hiker and Companion” and “Traveler.”

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

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The kneeling women statues were made to be double the size of a real woman. They were part of a class project which had faculty picking the best work.

Once chosen, three students — Julio Reyes, Candace Bohannon and Amanda Gress — molded and cast what became the final statues. Three were made.

Though the two fronting the school were destroyed Wednesday, the third, which had been displayed elsewhere at LCAD, was kept for posterity.

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A small bulldozer carries away the lower part of one of the “kneeling women” statues from the front of the Laguna College of Art + Design campus on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer )

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint


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