Vallejo’s Missing Public Art — A Discussion with Robin Bernhard

10/13/14 — Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion with Robin Bernhard, a Vallejo resident who works as the Art Collection Manager for UC Davis. She has been brought in to consult on the forgotten art pieces which have been brought to Vallejo’s attention by local activist Doug Darling. Bernhard’s knowledge as a curator with regards to the history and importance of the pieces is very informative.The topic of the lost and forgotten public art is on the City Council agenda for tomorrow, October 14. If you are concerned about this issue, and want to see the pieces displayed in our city, it is a good time to make your voice heard!! 7 PM City Council Chambers.  MG



'Vallejo’s Missing Public Art — A Discussion with Robin Bernhard' have 9 comments

  1. October 13, 2014 @ 4:26 pm Salty Dog

    Wow….talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Thank you Robin and Marc for reminding that tradition is important.

    In an era of strip malls, MacMansions and a manic love affair with all things automotive, I suppose the city fathers of the seventies/eighties could be forgiven for forsaking statues and art that may evoke reflection, contemplation, rest and peace. Well, not forgiven but at least short sighted for erasing these significant historical pieces.

    Looking at the town square today, sterility comes to mind…as does barrenness… does boring. It screams for humanity…and there it was, sitting in crates all this time. There could not be a better time for these artifacts to be returned to their origins. It would say much for the current Council and residents.


  2. October 13, 2014 @ 6:18 pm Anonymous

    Current City Council majority will argue that arts revival was never in the annual goal-setting as a priority for this year. City Manager will concur with that view and argue the City have more important priorities post-bankruptcy to stay out of bankruptcy in the first place.


  3. October 13, 2014 @ 6:33 pm Doug

    Anonymous, this isn’t a goal setting issue, this is an unfinished job from 2002. There is plenty of documentation in the supplemental report that clearly points out the Cities intent and obligation to return these items to the Downtown. The Landscape Plans from WRT clearly point that out as well. This is about obligation and accountability. This is about Council stepping up to the plate, supporting its community, there is no more room for continued excuses.


    • October 14, 2014 @ 12:14 am Chris

      I think we are far beyond a time when we should be looking to this local government to resolve issues like this. Why would we want to leave any of this in the hands of THIS city government? Oh, I know, it’s all about the money, and everyone loves taxpayer money that can be used to fulfill the desire of some special interest or another, but the city government is just a bureaucracy that exists mostly to perpetuate its existence.

      The world has changed since the 1970s, to be sure, and it has changed again since 2002. The City of Vallejo government has lost its authority to remain the curator of these art works. The recommendation should be to pursue private funding to take these items over. City Hall doesn’t deserve these things.


  4. Monica

    October 13, 2014 @ 7:01 pm Monica

    WHOA! Thank you Doug, Robin, and Marc for bringing this to the public’s attention. It would be thrilling to have this collection reintroduced to our city. Although neither of the measures benefiting Independence Park nor Downtown Beautification were funded by PB this year, certainly a focused approach to restoring these valuable assets would encourage voters to support similar efforts for the next round of PB (provided there is a next round of PB…). In the meantime, creating a committee of skilled and knowledgeable volunteers to pursue “search and rescue” for the remaining pieces and the refurbishing of those already discovered is a no-brainer. If as Robin has stated, grants are available from the federal government, the artwork in which the citizens of Vallejo invested back in the 1960’s can be returned for subsequent generations to enjoy. I’m off to write my letters to the city council…


  5. October 13, 2014 @ 7:04 pm Mousy

    Part of me is ecstatic to see public indignation over art. That this even registers to the citizens is a testament to how far we have come. The other part of me is mad about it.

    Once the drought is over we should push to get the fountains working too.


  6. October 14, 2014 @ 11:03 am wharf rat

    Chris and all others I fully agree with you all , our historic and cultural fabric was abandoned in a junk yard , this is a demonstrated inability to care for these treasures . Staff will probably spin some BS about incorporating these Sculptures in a development project
    I say no way , this Public Art needs to be put back on Public property for all to see . COV dropped the ball a decade ago , they never finished the project they were paid for and Art remains MISSING this is inexcusable , there are laws covering historic and cultural fabric I suspect many have been violated , certainly the communities trust has been further violated yet again ……..


  7. October 14, 2014 @ 3:45 pm BE

    excellent interview marc. great information from robin. i learned so much about pieces of art i have walked by hundreds of times and knew nothing about. thank you for educating me, robin.


  8. October 15, 2014 @ 5:57 pm Chris

    It can not be a coincidence that the pocket park fountain that apparently once was the location of “Triad’, the acrylic sculpture that has apparently disappeared entirely, is adjacent to the Triad Communities, LP, office building on Georgia Street. Was “Triad” commissioned by Triad Communities? Does Triad Communities still exist as a business entity?

    “The Structure” of Stefan Novak, in the small plaza between buildings on Georgia Street–the redwood structure does display a small plaque with the name and artist; in that pocket park where “Triad” used to be in the square fountain, there is another redwood structure set as an archway northern entrance to the park–was that also built by Novak?

    I totally agree with Bernhard that “The Structure” must be moved–and in the process, it must be cleaned up and treated, and some of the timber components replaced entirely. it has suffered significant deterioration over the years with some serious erosion of the wood. Nothing unusual in this, but it should be taken care of.

    Also, the wonderful mural high on wall in the pocket park with the “Triad” fountain is undergoing serious deterioration, with many sections of the mural suffering from paint flaking and peeling away. Are the artists still around? If so, perhaps they can be recalled to help restore these wonderful murals.


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