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Local Artists will be Serving a New Look for Placentia’s SR-57 Orange Freeway

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

This is a rendering of the proposed sculpture "Placentia Gateway (Chromatic Ascension)" by Cliff Garten for the City of Placentia which will sit in the middle of an off-ramp off of the SR-57 Orange Freeway. Credit: Rendering courtesy of Cliff Garten

The SR-57 Orange Freeway stretches approximately 4.9 miles through the cities of Placentia, Fullerton and Brea. Soon the standard gray walls will be splashed with color and contemporary designs for locals and the thousands of others who travel the freeway system to admire.

Beginning in spring 2023, Los Angeles sculptor Cliff Garten and Ontario mural artist Alejandro Poli Jr., also known as Man One, will be beautifying the location with their original work of sculpture, “Placentia Gateway (Chromatic Ascension),” and the mural, “The Good People Under Our Sun and Moon,” respectively.

The sculpture will be by the on/off ramps of SR-57 at Orangethorpe Avenue and the mural on West Crowther Avenue under SR-57. Both are expected to be finished by summer 2023.

“There is an expressive potential in all our infrastructure,” Garten said. “So in other words, we just aren’t making a road or bridge for cars and people to travel on. But we’re making something that also serves our visual needs, and it creates something that the community can relate to, at its own level.”

The large-scale public art project comes as a result of the Clean California initiative, which is a part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s California Comeback Plan — a $1.2 billion, multi-year investment led by the California Department of Transportation toward removing trash, creating thousands of jobs, and beautifying and improving public spaces in the state.

“I do feel like the murals in our town have a connection to the community,” Placentia Mayor Rhonda Shader said. “When I was running for election, the people in that neighborhood told me how much (the Atwood mural) meant to them, and that it told a story of their ancestors.”

She continued, “A lot of the murals in Placencia celebrate our heritage, the heritage of people, as well as the heritage of farming and citrus in our town.”

Adding to the city’s public art scene, the artists were instructed to create contemporary pieces to complement the design of the nearby modern infrastructure by the Orange Freeway.

This full story can be accessed for free in its entirety at Voice of OC.


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