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30-Foot Moving Sculpture Will Greet Visitors at Intersection South of Downtown SLO

Post Date:06/07/2017 9:40 AM

A 30-foot tall, moving sculpture will soon greet motorists south of the downtown area.

Installation begins Friday, June 9 on “Olas Portola-Fuente Seca,” which means “Waves in a Dry Fountain.” The sculpture was created by kinetic sculptor Jeffrey Laudenslager and light sculptor Deanne Sabeck, both Southern California artists with numerous public art pieces. The sculpture will be situated in the original Portola Fountain base at the intersection of Higuera and Marsh streets. A small road closure will be in place for the one-way horseshoe lane that connects Higuera and Marsh Streets, beginning at 7 a.m. Friday as installation begins. Project completion and dedication is expected later this summer.

Olas Portola RenderingThe original fountain, built by the San Luis Obispo Monday Club in 1967, has become dated and minimized by the activity around it. The addition of “Olas Portola” will be the first kinetic sculpture in San Luis Obispo.

“The kinetic sculpture is sort of serious play,” Laudenslager said. “Serious in the sense that I will create it in a truly monumental scale. And playful by nature, using the wind to move its elements gently, like a perpetual and elegant Tai Chi.”

Created on CAD software, Laudenslager’s pieces are described as kinetic sculptures that consist of geometric shapes, joined and balanced so that wind alone will activate them.

Sabeck, meanwhile, uses dichroic glass, which divides the light spectrum, transmitting one color while reflecting its opposite to create a sculptural light painting.

This public art project dates to 2009, when an art jury reviewed over 150 proposals and recommended a single public art design for the fountain location. The conceptual art design was supported by the Architectural Review Commission and approved by the City Council in 2010. The design was modified slightly in 2014, and construction permits were issued in 2016. To view photographs and renderings of the piece in motion, visit

CONTACT:  Melissa Mudgett, Public Art Program Manager, (805)781-7296,

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