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Westside Stories, 2006

Community Enhancement Project

Ventura, California

Public Art | Ventura | Helle Scharling-Todd
Public Art | Ventura | Helle Scharling-Todd

In 2001 I won a competition to be the lead artist for the north Ventura avenue enhancement project, to revive its cultural and historical past by integrating public art into the intersections along Ventura avenue and the main bicycle path leading towards Ojai.

My designs were chosen because they functioned both as geographical markers and cultural gateways for the westside neighborhood. For the gateways, I decided to create 9-foot tall three sided columns made out of galvanized steel, decorated with tiles. These tile panels depict images from past cultural and economic periods, such as Native American patterns, Latin American textiles, citrus and oil refineries.

I first considered a long walkway with mosaics, but in the end I decided to suggest a solid color palette and painted patterns that could be incorporated into the cement of the crosswalks and intersections. This suited the urban dimensions much better. The Terra Cotta Red and Cynth Yellow for the cross-walk, would both evoke the cultural and historical links and complement the new housing development nearby.

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