A crane is lowering a giant sculpture onto the sidewalk at the intersection of State and Victoria Streets, in downtown Santa Barbara. It’s a bright green, giant metal sculpture of a question mark, the size of a person. A worker bolts it to the ground.
Others remove plastic wrap protecting it during the installation process. But, it’s more than art. On the back side of the sculpture are shelves, designed to be filled with books for a free, open air lending library.
This is a unique project designed to mix public art and public libraries. Sara York Rubin is Executive Director of the Santa Barbara County office of Arts and Culture. She says the six “Tiny Library” sculptures are being installed in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street from Victoria, to Canon Perdido Streets.
A number of artists submitted proposals for the project, but review committees selected Douglas Lochner’s punctuation mark concept. The entire project took about a year to develop, with Lockner involved for about six months. Three of the works were installed on State Street Wednesday morning, with the final three set for placement Friday morning.
Plans call for the six life-sized punctuation marks to remain on State Street through mid-October. They will then be loaned to some libraries across the county. The hope is to return the works to State Street for a longer exhibition next summer.