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Artist benches approved in canyon

Two colorful artist-designed benches will be installed on Laguna Canyon Frontage Road as sign posts for the public.

The City Council unanimously approved the Arts Commission recommendation of the benches.

Commissioners refuted questions about the safety of the design of one of the benches, which featured a 24-inch “doughnut” on top of the back, and the suitability of the bright color palette.

“Unless you have a child with a 2-foot head, I don’t think it [the doughnut] will be a problem,” Arts Commission Chairwoman Pat Kollenda said.


Sawdust exhibitor Eleanor Henry disagreed.

“Kids could get their heads stuck through the 24-inch doughnut hole,” said Henry, speaking only for herself. “This is an accident waiting to happen. And the colors are definitely not compatible with the Arts District. They belong in a children’s park — and they are ugly.”

Commissioner Joan Corman, who chairs the bench committee, spoke in favor of the bench designs.

“They are very colorful and eye-catching,” Corman said. “We want people to go ‘Wow!’ and the benches will help to identify the location.


“I sat on the artist’s benches in San Diego, and they were fun and comfortable.”

Doug Snider designed and will install the benches, one by the Sawdust Festival and one by Art-a-Fair.

The winning entry in the ninth bench competition will cost $52,000.

“The benches are functional artistic forms,” Commissioner Suzi Chauvel said. “They will function as sign posts. The international arts community is all about color and organic form.”

“We are hoping these benches will encourage tram use,” said Commissioner Nancy Beverage, hitting on one of the council’s hot buttons.