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Flower statues blossom in downtown Glendale

Flower statues blossom in downtown Glendale
Pedestrians walk by a giant flower pot filled with oversized, artificial flowers across from the Americana at Brand on Thursday, April 9, 2015. (Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer)

Spring blossomed on Brand Boulevard literally overnight recently as a dozen oversized flower statues were put on display along both sides of the main downtown street.

The petunias, which stand at about 5 feet tall, were commissioned by the Downtown Glendale Assn. in its latest seasonal public outdoor art display.

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They will remain on the sidewalks through sometime in May, said Tim Gallagher, the association’s spokesman.

Petunias themselves don’t have much of a connection to Glendale, Gallagher said, but they do a good job representing what springtime is all about.

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“I think, for the most part, you look in downtown and see asphalt and cement, then you see something that makes you smile,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do in downtown Glendale, is to make it a more welcomed and friendly environment.”

While the sculptures have been well-received by most for adding some color, others joke that the oversized flowers remind them of Audrey II, the blood thirsty alien plant from “Little Shop of Horrors,” Gallagher said with a chuckle.

Though that’s still a sign that people are enjoying them, he said.

The statues, which cost the association about $18,000 and are scattered from the Ventura (134) Freeway to Colorado Boulevard, have gotten gym patrons at Crossfit 818 talking when they arrive for their workouts.

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Armen Amirian, manager of the gym at Brand and Milford Road, said he and his runners cross paths with the flower sculptures all the time as they trek through downtown. He said he appreciates the effort to distinguish Glendale’s downtown from other cities.

“It adds some character … our routes around our block go up and down Brand, so it’s cool to see something new,” he said. “It’s definitely started conversations.”

The flower display is the third seasonal artistic project for the association, which scattered hay bales along Brand last fall and later placed giant nutcracker statues on the sidewalks in time for the holidays.

Similar to the nutcracker display, Gallagher said the association will once again host a selfie contest that invites people to take photos of themselves in front of the flower busts and post them on the association’s Facebook page for a chance to win prizes.

Aside from the art showings, Gallagher added that the organization is in talks with the city for future beautification projects, such as planting new trees along Brand as well as adding more outdoor tables and chairs on the sidewalks to make Brand more pedestrian friendly.

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