A 13-year effort to bring city-sponsored public art to Petaluma is encountering a small but vocal group of detractors in the North Bay, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat first reported.
Petaluma’s Public Art Committee, created in 2005, commissioned Fine Balance by San Francisco artist Brian Goggin using $150,000 in development fees earmarked for public art. The artist envisions five bathtubs on stilts near the Petaluma River on Water Street.
Goggin, a renowned sculptor profiled by KQED Arts in 2016, is known for San Francisco works including Defenestration, which involved 45 pieces of furniture crawling along the exterior of a former tenement on Sixth Street; and Caruso’s Dream, a sculptural canopy of pianos made from reclaimed factory windows and suspended above Ninth Street.
At approximately 20 feet tall, Fine Balance is a similarly surreal, large-scale sculpture that the artist says references the adjacent river’s Gold Rush-era history of bathtub importing. Solar-powered LED lights will illuminate the waterfront sculptures at night.
"The image of a heavy object defying gravity relates to the uniqueness of Petaluma as both a counter-cultural beacon and a traditional base," reads Goggin's description of the work. "Fine Balance refers to the agility required to navigate these times."