Kings Beach roundabout art installed

Artist Roger Berry with his piece “Estrella,” which is now installed in Kings Beach. | Courtesy Placer County

The first of two public art pieces for Kings Beach’s roundabouts has been installed, with “Estrella” by Roger Berry installed on Nov. 12 at the Bear Street and State Route 28 intersection. This highly anticipated project follows years of planning and community involvement.

Installation of the second piece, “Da o wa ga” by artist Brett Moten, is expected to take place in spring 2019.

“This piece is truly a community project,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery in a press release. “Artwork in King Beach’s roundabouts is a fitting accent to the major investment we’ve made through the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project. We greatly appreciate the community’s input in choosing this piece and are happy to welcome ‘Estrella’ to Kings Beach.”

Two final pieces were selected from a field of five proposals narrowed down from the initial 38 submissions through two review panels and a community viewing and balloting process, which received about 435 votes, as first reported by Tahoe Weekly.

“This is the community’s sculpture,” said artist Roger Berry in the press release. “This installation continued to surprise me because it truly evolved during the creation of the piece. I hope people will find surprises of their own when they enjoy the installation for themselves. I made ‘Estrella’ to become part of the community and for the community to enjoy for years to come.”

Estrella | Courtesy Placer County

The name Estrella is Spanish for star, which is a nostalgic reference to Berry’s time spent in Tahoe, particularly his childhood memories of gazing at the stars in Tahoe’s night sky. While creating the piece for Kings Beach, he reflected on these memories and realized that from any angle viewers will always be able to enjoy the Tahoe stars through the installation, just as he did as a child. This inspired the piece’s name.

“The placement of ‘Estrella’ marks a significant milestone for Kings Beach and this endeavor. We would like to thank Placer County for their support and partnership as well as the many individuals and organizations that made this possible,” said Tahoe Public Art founding member Steve Miller in the press release.

In June 2017 the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a grant partnership with Tahoe Public Art in the amount of $209,152 to manage the installation of the artwork for both Kings Beach roundabouts. Prior to this approval, Tahoe Public Art found the artists, managed the public outreach and assisted with the process of receiving the appropriate approvals through Caltrans.

The project is funded with transient occupancy tax revenue collected in unincorporated eastern Placer County, as well as private donations made through Tahoe Public Art. Annual funding of $10,000 for future maintenance will be set aside in the county’s Lake Tahoe tourism and promotions budget.