Council votes to preserve Point Emery Art installation

1 min read

In a 4-1 vote (Atkin voting nay) the council voted to move forward with the creation of a full-scale Mock-up version of the installation that would be tested for safety and durability. The piece would be constructed of concrete and actual shells provided by Point Reyes based Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm and would have integrated benches and be climbable by visitors. If this Mock-up proves to be safe & durable, the city plans to move forward with the $150,000 installation. At least one of the original seven proposed “mounds” would be eliminated because of the concern of obstruction to the trail. The Mock-up is expected to be installed after the 4th of July weekend and available for a public tour by the Artist and Public Art Committee on July 10th (time still to be determined).

“Shells/Mounds” conceived by Oregon-based artist Adam Kuby was selected from four finalists asked to develop a conceptual proposal.  Each finalist was selected from 28 original submissions considered by the public art selection committee for the $200,000 commissioned public art installation (with an additional $50,000 for proposals, outreach and technical review). The piece was intended to honor & remind visitors of the Ohlone Indian Shell mounds that used to exist on the very spot.

Per Adam’s description in his proposal:
“Shell mounds and oyster shells have been a rich and vital part of both the natural and Native American history of San Francisco Bay for thousands of years. Estimates are that in the 1700’s there were as many as 600 distinct mounds in the region. Now there are less than 40. Evoking the ancient tradition of shell mounds, these contemporary landforms reinforce the deep historical connections between people, oysters and the San Francisco Bay.”

The concerns over erosion were brought up by the Public Art Committee to the Public Works Committee after a November Tech review observed that the point has eroded approximately 15 feet on the north side  and may eventually be engulfed if it is not retrofitted with an expensive Riprap material that would shield the shoreline. Erosion is considered “part of the point” that the artist it looking to demonstrate but the council in their due-diligence wants to ensure that it would not become dangerous or a public nuisance.

For more details the public can contact:
Amber Evans, Community Development Coordinator

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

1 Comment

  1. “The piece was intended to honor & remind visitors of the Ohlone Indian Shell mounds that used to exist on the very spot.”
    As I understand it everything in Emeryville past the train tracks is basically landfill, so there were never any shell mounds at Point Emery, just water. That location could certainly use a bit more attention, though, and this installation seems to be a much more appropriate setting to honor the Ohlone than the creepy one at the Bay Street mall. Thanks for reporting on it.

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