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Crowd Gathers for 'Light Gate' Sunset

Jan 27, 2016 11:33PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Dozens of onlookers gathered downtown on Wednesday night to watch the sun set through "Light Gate" - only the second time since the sculpture's installation that the sun has set perfectly through its opening.

Initially it appeared that clouds would mask the sunset, but at the final moment, the bright orange hue of the sun became clear. As the sun slipped toward the horizon, it gave way to brilliant streaks of orange, red, and vermilion.

"Light Gate" is located at the top of 14th Street, between Manhattan Beach City Hall and the new Manhattan Beach Library, along Highland Avenue. The artwork is made of glass, laminated with prismatic lighting film that creates rich and varied light effects with the sun.

The sculpture focuses the view through an opening down 14th Street to the ocean, with the perfect sunset coming through the "keyhole" opening on only two days of the year, November 14 and January 27.

Wednesday's sunset drew a diverse crowd of both young and old, with Manhattan Beach Mayor Mark Burton and the city's cultural art commissioners in attendance.

As the sun finally disappeared, viewers admired each others photos and then slowly dispersed. "See you in November," one onlooker called out as she left.

"Light Gate" was installed nearly one year ago, on February 25, 2015, by artists Mags Harries and Lajos Héder. The sculpture is designed to be a place of constantly shifting light and view that will put the visitor in the center of this important nexus. As viewers move around and through the sculpture, it will shift from transparency, to prismatic refraction, to mirror reflection. The glass and steel construction was designed to harmonize with the crystalline glass architecture of the new library.

"Light Gate" was the winning entry in the city's Centennial Art Project, which was launched to create an exceptional visual experience for locals and visitors, while celebrating the city’s past and inspire future generations.

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