SCV Public Art Installations

Gillian Bui and Esther Pack

When most people think about Santa Clarita, art is not the first thing that comes to mind. In actuality, the city is home to a lively, vibrant arts community. Thoughtfully placed throughout the city are unique art exhibits created by local artists.  

   These city-commissioned exhibits feature a diverse range of artistic mediums such as sculptures, murals, paintings, textiles and more. These creative spaces open up conversations between residents and foster thoughtful discussions in order to provide the community the opportunity to connect with all that their city has to offer. 

   Public art is an integral aspect of a community’s identity. Ms. Rush, West Ranch’s AP Art and AP Art History teacher, explained how public art fosters community pride, creates a sense of belonging and enhances the quality of life for locals and visitors. “It’s something unexpected that throughout our day, makes you think about things that you wouldn’t normally do. We’re so in our jobs, schools and activities, but it brings people together to come and look at something. Sometimes it makes you reflect on political, economic and social issues. It creates a spectacle. It can bring hope and it can be memorials to the past. It’s something that’s poetic in our day that’s more aesthetic and about form and promotes more thoughtful thinking.” 

   One engaging exhibit is the bike rack created by artist Greg Mueller in front of the Old Town Newhall Library. Made from recycled bike frames, Mueller said in a video interview with SCVTV in June titled “Finding Art: Old Town Newhall Library Bike Rack” that its resemblance to book pages represents the idea that just like every book has a story, every bike has one too.

Photos taken in front of the Old Town Newhall Library by Gillian Bui

   West Ranch junior Jenna Lang articulated her thoughts on the exhibit’s significance. “It’s a piece of art, but it also serves a very important purpose. I think this integration of aestheticism and functionality is interesting, and I hope to see more of it in our city’s future.”

   Mueller’s design was selected to be the 2022 yearly bike rack in Old Town Newhall. The artist ties Santa Clarita’s affinity for outdoor recreational activities and large biking community into the city’s love for books. 

   The bike rack acts as a communal space for residents to take a pit stop and station their bicycles. “A city identifies with its architecture and buildings but it’s the spaces in between that I’m interested in,” Mueller explained in the SCVTV interview. City councilman Bill Miranda, the former mayor of Santa Clarita who started this initiative, explained on the city’s website that the city hopes the piece will encourage residents to bike to the public library while exploring the engaging attractions in and around the city. 

   Although libraries are often imagined to be silent and dull, with stacks of colorless books, the Valencia Library differs with “Step Into Nature,” an art exhibit created by Mosa Tanksley, Bahram Kafai, Diana Klauss, Megan Andersen and Sharon Lee. These five artists were commissioned by the city to add life to the children’s section in order to spark and encourage the childrens’ imagination. 

  “Step Into Nature at the New Valencia Library Branch Art Exhibit,” an article by City of Santa Clarita News explains that each of the five artworks were created with the artists’ individual creative visions of nature. Ranging from magical mushrooms to cartoon forest animals, the art pieces bring life and color to the library. 

“Step Into Nature” at the Valencia Library by Bahram Kafai, Megan Andersen, Mosa Tanksley,  Diana Klauss and Sharon Lee; Photos by Esther Pack

   In addition to the bright, nature-inspired exhibits, a series of fluid art pieces by Caroline Chung Takeda is displayed in the Valencia library. In a written explanation beside the exhibit, Takeda explained that her art was created to fill a void in her heart as her children graduated high school and left for college. With the art piece being painted with a colorful blend of vivid paints, it is evident that her passion is embedded in every brush stroke on the canvas.

   Often, we see many famous pieces of art day to day. From Vincent Van Gogh to Yoshitomo Nara’s art. Although these art pieces can be seen in many different places and sources, there are many young aspiring artists all around the world. Matthew Santos created many different pieces of art that were displayed inside the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library. The paintings were created when he was 14 years old and it brings life to the library with the beauty of nature. 

A written explanation next to the series of paintings made by Matthew Santos explain his intentions of his paintings and the importance of his art stating that, “If there was no art, the world would be bland.” His art is created with acrylic paint and every stroke is painted with intention. He explained one of the reasons he paints, “I have Autism and and art can help me share what I am thinking about without using words.” Matthew Santos’ beautiful paintings “A Quiet Noisy Place in a Noisy World” were displayed till December 21, 2022. 

     There are many different forms of art created and displayed all around the world, but everyone interprets every art piece differently based on their experiences in life. Artist Nadia Lusian’s collection of art pieces named “Perceptions of the Natural and Imagined” were displayed in the Newhall Community Center from August 5th, 2022 to November 21st. As stated in the display next to her art pieces, Lusian uses her “trust in the spontaneity of inspiration”, “technique”, and watches it “come together.”

     Lusian hopes her art “speaks to you”, as she intended for her paintings to bring emotions of “pleaasure, peace, or emotional voice.”

     Librarian Gretchen Becherer who works at the Canyon Country location explained the importance of these exhibits. “I think it adds value because it’s a representation of the youth, the adults and the patrons who come here. They get to see themselves in our collection and they get to reflect back to what their story is through the art. Everybody can see a little bit of themselves reflected back.”

   Additionally, public art adds value to the economic vitality of a community, benefitting local merchants, driving tourism and sparking creativity. Ms. Rush explained that “it’s important to support local artists because people get more involved in their community. Public art enlivens public spaces. For example: a mural. In our culture, we do not get to see the artist at work because they’re always in their studio. When you have public art and you live in a community, you can see it develop firsthand.” 

   On the city of Santa Clarita’s website, Bill Miranda expressed that the City of Santa Clarita hopes to continue this artistic initiative and encourages residents to explore the area and enjoy the vibrant arts community the city has fostered. If you would like to learn more about the arts collective, visit