FALLBROOK – For most his adult life, Peter Mitten has been steeped in the visual arts, drawing inspiration from his natural surroundings. The sculptor’s eye-catching metal monoliths can be seen in transit centers in Dallas and Escondido and in public venues in Palm Desert, San Diego and Yuma.
When the new Fallbrook library opens in early 2011, Mitten’s latest creation will be hard to miss.
The Fallbrook resident is putting the finishing touches on a 10-foot fence and gate that will be installed in the Visual Garden in the northeast corner of the library. The work will also be visible from Alvarado Street and a striking reminder of Fallbrook’s rich agricultural heritage.
The leaf and fruit forms of the steel fence and gate depict an avocado grove, a key crop in the community’s history and economy. The distinctive shapes were cut from a sheet of steel using a water jet cutter. The fence and gate will be allowed to rust and the piece will be sealed with lacquer.
“I hope it helps enlighten spaces in the new library,” said Mitten, 58, who is creating the piece at the foundry in the Fallbrook School of the Arts, less than a quarter mile from the new library.
Mitten is one of eight artists commissioned by the Friends of Fallbrook Library to create unique pieces of art for the Fallbrook Public Library. The Friends, a non-profit group, has raised $2.4 million for the new Fallbrook Library, including $375,000 for artwork.
The art, in addition to offering visual inspiration and relief, reflects Fallbrook’s growing “art-town” image.
“Art has become an integral part of Fallbrook’s fabric,” said Jerri Patchett, a member of the Friends. “Along with agriculture, it’s what sets us apart from other communities in Southern California.”
The Friends has set a goal to raise another $500,000 for book collections, to complete the Outdoor Reading Garden and provide a baby grand piano, theater lighting and sound system for the community room, which will serve as Fallbrook’s meeting place.