The City of Fresno, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, dedicated a new public art piece this afternoon at the Mariposa Plaza located on Fulton Street. The new piece is the first to be installed on Fulton since 1964 and the first to be installed on the newly opened Fulton Street.
Money for the new artwork was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Program to commission new interactive public art, and develop a conceptual redesign of Mariposa Plaza that creates more vibrant and functional public space for festivals, social gatherings, and as amenity for surrounding residents, merchants and workers.
“Great cities have great art, and this is another world-class addition to Fresno’s public art collection, featured on Fulton Street and totally accessible to residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Lee Brand. “I am proud that we are able to help bring Mariposa Plaza to life and I offer my thanks to the Fresno Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and our community partners in this effort.”
The City, working together with the landscape architecture firm of Wallace, Roberts, and Todd (WRT), and community partners; The Downtown Fresno Partnership, Creative Fresno, Urban Diversity Design, The Fresno Art Council, The Fresno Art Museum, Univision, Pacific Southwest Building, Central Valley Community Foundation, and Axis Consulting developed an art plan for students to design their vision for Mariposa Plaza, held public meetings, and tours to advance the design of the Plaza, and issued a national call for artists. Five public art proposals were received, and Gordon Huether was the artist selected to create the world-class work of art in May of 2017.
Huether, from Napa Valley, has created public art installations for universities, hospitals, recreation centers, civic buildings, libraries, museums, airports, transportation centers, parking garages, and private corporations throughout the world. In total, he has completed more than 250 art commissions over the course of his 30-year career, including the Salt Lake City Airport and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. In addition, his work has been exhibited at museums and galleries and is represented in private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
“Downtown Fresno belongs to everyone, and that’s why I’m proud to have been part of the public conversation we had that eventually brought this beautiful new work to the plaza,” said Fresno City Councilmember Oliver Baines, whose district includes Downtown Fresno. “It’s a terrific complement to the public art already on Fulton Street and builds on the incredible momentum for our vibrant new downtown.”
Mariposa Plaza sits at the center of the former Fulton Mall and is two blocks west of the state’s planned high-speed rail station. The new artwork will be part of a larger plan to redesign and “activate” the plaza, which is not part of the Fulton Street rebuild project. The former Fulton Mall was home to 32 pieces of art including sculptures, mosaic benches, and water features. The City spent over $5 million dollars to restore the artwork to its original condition.