Council approves 9/11 sculpture

Laguna Beach will soon have a unique 9/11 memorial.

The City Council on Tuesday approved the installation in Heisler Park of a sculpture incorporating two metal beams salvaged from World Trade Center debris.

"Semper Mement," by Jorg Dubin, also references the two other sites inextricably linked to the twin towers: the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania field where Flight 93 crashed.

"Having the beams in my studio, it was hard to imagine where they were 10 years ago," Dubin said. "I wanted people to be able to experience that."

Dubin arranged the beams the way they might have been found — angled upright in support of one another. They will be mounted on five-sided base. A stainless steel sphere and lighting will be in a 30-inch planter at the center of the base.

"The pentagon-shaped base is kind of obvious," Dubin said. "The planter represents the field in Pennsylvania. The polished ball represents the world — a reminder that 9/11 touched everyone."

The base will measure 11 feet in diameter and 10 inches high. The beams are 8 feet tall and will remain in the post-9/11 state of corrosion, with chunks of concrete still attached.

A small model of Dubin's proposal was presented at the council meeting.

"His was the unanimous choice of the commission," said Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly, council liaison to the Arts Commission. "Another artist said he would have chosen it."

In his written artist statement to the commission, Dubin said, "This not a Jorg Dubin sculpture; rather, it pays homage to the memory of an event. A place for individual reflection, quietly understated, yet powerful in its symbolism and juxtaposition of materials."

Finalists got to visit the beams in storage and the location in the park where the sculpture would be installed, between the lawn bowling green and Monument Point.

A planter currently occupies the site, and Dubin suggested it be replaced with grass.

"I want people to be able to touch [the sculpture] and be a part of it," Dubin said.

The removal of the planter adds another $5,000 to the cost of the installation.

Arts patron Mark Porterfield, who funded the transportation of the beams to Laguna, volunteered to split the additional cost with the commission.

In all, 10 entries were submitted. Four made the final cut.

"All four finalists delivered on time and on point," said Arts Commissioner Mary Ferguson.

They all conveyed the same message: "remembrance, respect and reflection."

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