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City Unveils 'Refresh' of Light Gate Sculpture

Sep 13, 2019 09:05PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

The "refreshed" Light Gate sculpture. Photo via City of Manhattan Beach.

It's a new look for Light Gate: The city of Manhattan Beach this week unveiled a “refresh” of the popular sculpture, located at the intersection of 14th Street and Highland Avenue between Manhattan Beach City Hall and the Manhattan Beach Library.

The Light Gate refresh features the replacement of five glass panels with decorative glass that exhibit a brilliant color shift through transmitted and reflected light. Visitors should expect to see a vast array of colors exhibited through the sculpture, depending on the viewing angle and lighting, according to a statement from the city.

“The Light Gate is a vital art piece in our city and this exciting enhancement is an example of our city’s commitment to excellence in our public art,” said Mayor Nancy Hersman in a statement.

The sculpture originally had fused glass embedded with a film that was designed to create a prism-like refraction when hit by sunlight. However, since the sculpture was installed, it has experienced some fading. Additionally, there have been new innovations in glass products.

After examining the options, the city collaborated with the Light Gate artists to replace the existing fused glass panels without altering the intent, integrity, or authenticity of the sculpture.

In March, at the recommendation of the Cultural Arts Commission, the City Council approved the disbursement of funds from the Public Arts Trust Fund to replace the glass panels on the Light Gate sculpture utilizing dichroic glass products (preferred for architectural use in sunlight) and with a ten-year warranty.

The glass product called “Dichroic Laminated Glass” is produced in Canada and is the result of a new partnership between Goldray Glass, a manufacturer of architectural decorative glass, and 3M Innovation. The collaboration resulted in a product that combined 3M’s premium-grade polymeric film with Goldray’s decorative glass techniques.

“The city is happy to see the art piece restored to its novel beauty while celebrating the city’s past and inspiring future generations in the arts with such innovative techniques,” said Mayor Hersman.

The City of Manhattan Beach will hold a re-dedication of the refreshed artwork on November 14 to observe the "keyhole sunset" and celebrate the occasion.

Light Gate Background

In July 2012, the city of Manhattan Beach put out a call to commission a "unique and iconic artwork" in celebration of the city's centennial year. Mags Harries and Lajos Héder of Harries and Héder Collective were chosen as the artists to create their submission, Light Gate. The artist’s commission for the project was $130,000, using the city’s Public Art Trust Fund. (The Public Art Trust Fund was established through a dedicated 1% development fee that does not impact the general fund.)

Light Gate was dedicated on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. The art piece focuses the view through an opening down 14th Street to the ocean. Each year on January 27 and November 14, the sunset aligns within the keyhole.

For more information about the Light Gate, visit the Light Gate webpage.

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