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'Dragon Tale' Sculpture Moving to Art Center

Feb 25, 2020 04:45PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The iconic "Dragon Tale" sculpture, which the city installed on the Greenbelt last year, has been taken down and will move to a new home at the Manhattan Beach Art Center.

The tall kinetic windmill sculpture was purchased by the city in December 2018 and was installed on the Greenbelt between Ardmore and Valley at Second Street in September 2019. 

However, complaints from some residents prompted the city to take action. City Council members voted in November to relocate the sculpture, on a vote of 3-2. 

It will soon be installed at an existing concrete pedestal at the Art Center.

The sculpture "is currently being stored safely at the City Yard facility," according to Cultural Arts Acting Manager Eilen R. Stewart. (Contrary to some rumors, it did not sustain damage from a windstorm, Stewart confirmed.)

Stewart said that there would not likely be a public notification process for the new location of the sculpture.

"There will most likely not be a public notice for future placement of this piece," said Stewart. "That is not a practice we typically employ for smaller artworks such as this one, as it takes up a great amount of time and typically does not yield very much input."

Gary McAulay was one of the residents who spoke before City Council about moving the sculpture.

"Many people value the Greenbelt as a 'nature' walk, a bit of open space, trees, flowers, etc., that, in a city of tiny or non-existent yards, would be best left in as natural a condition as possible," said McAulay, the president of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society and a lifelong beach cities resident.

McAulay continued: "As described in the City’s Veterans Parkway Landscape Master Plan, it’s 'one of few places where you can take a long walk in a tranquil, private, planted urban setting with no asphalt, concrete, fencing or gates.'  Art and nature each have beauty, but large, shiny, kinetic metal sculptures are the opposite of nature, and can be easily enjoyed in other locations."

"I'm happy to see the Dragon Tale piece go to the Cultural Arts Center," McAulay added.

"Dragon Tale" and the Sculpture Garden Program

"Dragon Tale" was originally part of Manhattan Beach's Sculpture Garden Program. That program which originated in 2009, features a series of temporary biennial exhibitions. The program offer artists a unique opportunity to showcase their original sculptural work to the Manhattan Beach community and its thousands of visitors.

The sculpture was created by the husband and wife team of Rick Randall and Jaydon Sterling, who are known for whimsical kinetic wind powered sculptures. Made from plasma cut steel, it features a gold ribbon and bright purple "dragon tails" that spin in the wind.

"Dragon Tale" had stood for two years at Metlox Plaza, and had come to be a well-known landmark in the center of the weekly Manhattan Beach Farmers Market

In December 2018, following its successful exhibition at Metlox Plaza, the city agreed to purchase the sculpture (it had been on lease) for $13,500 plus $5,000 for installation costs.

It stood on the Greenbelt from September 2019 until it was taken down this month.

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