Five Artists vying for two ECCL Public Art Commisions

3 mins read

Five artists are vying for two Public Art commissions at the in-progress Emeryville Center of Community Life. Two artists are competing for a commission on the corner of 53rd and San Pablo and three are competing for a commission either in the Welcome Center or the Library Courtyard. The goals of this Project are to Celebrate the ECCL as the community’s heart of the city – a meeting place and hub of civic and educational activity.

Presentation boards for each proposal will be on display on the mezzanine level of Emeryville City Hall through April 14th. There is also an on-site survey available to residents and workers of Emeryville to provide feedback. Results from the survey will be summarized and provided to a selection panel on April 8th and the Public Art Committee on April 14th.

On April 8th, each artist will present their proposal in person to the Selection Panel. On April 14th the Public Art Committee will review the boards and hear the Selection Panel recommendation.  The Recommendation will be brought from the Public Art Committee to the City Council on May 17th.

Artists Under Consideration

Pete Beeman

Pete applied as interested in the 53rd Street Plaza. He lives in New York and creates human-powered kinetic sculptures that are interactive. His pieces are usually made of stainless steel using marine-grade epoxy color. His public art is always site specific and he makes sure he understands the space and how it functions. In the interview he spoke of how he looks to community input that yields a set of stories and his work responds to those stories.


“The River Tree” would be a 14′ stainless steel tower with a hand crank allowing visitors to expand and contract the six branches.

Joyce Hsu

Joyce applied as interested in the 53rd Street Plaza. She lives in Oakland and creates installation and sculptures that combine themes of nature and technology. Her public art pieces have included light, and are sometimes kinetic, usually made of stainless steel and automotive paint. Her public artwork is always site specific and sees the process as a team effort. In the interview she spoke of how a work for this project should be fun, family oriented and engaging. She also feels that community input is important.



“Jesse” would be a 19’8” teddy bear sculpture made of rigid foam with a fiberglass coating and intended to represent unconditional love and security.

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Kelly Ording

Kelly applied for the Welcome Center West wall. She lives in Oakland and creates paintings, works on paper and wall murals that are painted or mosaic. In her work she combines organic forms and geometric shapes and lines with both intuitive and mathematical mark-making. For her murals she looks to the public community for input and inspiration to include in her mural. This project is 10 blocks from her home and she is inspired that the project would be in her community. In the interview she spoke of how it’s important that the community be heard, and to reference history and identity of the neighborhood.


“Weavings & Waterways” would be a hand-painted mural referencing traditional Ohlone basket weaving patterns and the waterways surrounding Emeryville.

Paul Vexler

Paul applied for the Welcome Center atrium. He lives in Washington and makes wood sculptures that twist and hang. The forms he creates are generated in part by the ways in which the wood is pulled, bent, twisted, compressed, stretched and punctured. In the interview he spoke of how he likes to visit a site and let the structure speak to him in regards to form and function. He sees the most interesting part of his work as site specificity.


A “Trefoil” is a three-fold symmetrical knot and would be a suspended sculpture composed of 12″ wide ribbons made of 1/16″ thick laminated plastic.


Madeline Wiener

Madeline applied for any of the plaza locations. She lives in Colorado and creates figurative sculptures made of stone. Her pieces are carved from various stones: limestone, marble, granite or sandstone. They are abstracted figures that can also provide seating and therefore be interactive. She considers her work site specific in that she looks into the setting and needs of the community to see what they might be. In the interview she spoke of how she would like to create an interactive, functional sculpture and was drawn to the Library Plaza as the most attractive setting for her work.

“Basking in Knowledge” is a proposed interactive concrete sculpture intended to be a tribute to knowledge and a reminder to read.

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The seven-member Public Art selection panel was appointed by City Council back on September 1st, 2015. More Information on the selection process on Emeryville.org

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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. I don’t see a way to vote but wow that teddy bear is a fright! Is this a pre-school or a high school? If that goes in E’ville will be the laughingstock of the Bay and beyond.

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