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Humpback Whale Spotted in Park!

Published: 07/05/2011

(Laguna Beach, Calif.) - A humpback whale has been spotted at Heisler Park above Laguna's Main Beach! Not a whale happening by in the shoreline below - but a new breaching whale sculpture erected near Rockpile Beach.

The "Breaching Whale" sculpture was the recent addition to a five-year, $7.5 million park renovation, which officially reopened on June 10, 2011. Improvements to Heisler Park include two new restrooms, a terraced gathering area, improved landscaping, pathways, view areas, picnic benches and tables, new art installations and a better park infrastructure. Funding was provided through $3.6 million of grant funds from California State Water Board's Clean Beaches Initiative, Integrated Regional Water Management program and grants to protect Areas of Special Biological Significance grant programs.

The sculpture was completed a year ago by sculptor Jon Seeman, but the installation of the stainless steel and COR-TEN steel "Breaching Whale" was delayed by renovations, which included the new amphitheater.

Originally recommended in 2009 by the City of Laguna Beach for installation in front of the Third Street Community and Senior Center in the downtown area as the fulfillment of the Arts in Public Places requirement, the city council voted to move the placement of the sculpture to oceanfront Heisler Park as a more suitable site for the 16-foot-tall public art piece. There will be a public art dedication for this piece on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 5pm as a prelude to First Thursdays Art Walk. The cost of the commission and installation totaled $115,000.

"We are delighted that the breaching whale sculpture will be an ongoing focal point in Heisler Park for visitors and residents to enjoy for many years to come," said Karyn Philippsen, President of the Board of Directors of the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau. "It seems like a fitting home for a sculpture that recognizes the beauty of the whale migrations that grace our shores annually, as well as our commitment to keeping our beaches pristine, while providing countless ocean activities to discover," said Judith Bijlani, LBVCB Executive Director.

About Laguna Beach Public Art - An artists' haven for more than 100 years, Laguna Beach has evolved into a renowned destination for world-class artists, festivals and galleries. Local and international artists have created more than 70 pieces of public art in Laguna Beach. Each is an original piece of work, made in an array of different media for a specific site. These installations are facilitated and funded through or by the City of Laguna Beach and its Arts Commission. Each of these public art pieces reflects the importance of the arts in Laguna Beach. Visitors can view a public art documentary at, or pick up a self-guided tour map of the artworks at the Laguna Beach Visitors Center at 381 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. The map delineates where public sculptures, art in public places and artist-designed benches are located throughout town, while identifying the artists and the history behind each piece.

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