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Donors to be honored by bench art installation
updated: Jun 20, 2014, 8:14 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

One of the most popular hiking destinations in Ventura County wouldn't exist without private donations and grants. Which is saying a lot, in that the organization was seeded and the trail built at the height of the deepest recession in current history. Without the generous support of private donations, the Ventura Botanical Gardens at Grant Park would probably still be rustic, overgrown and under-used.

Among the first of those generous and visionary philanthropists was honored on Friday, June 20th by the installation of a piece of artwork to honor their contribution. Patricia Wiker will be honored along with her husband Bob (in memoriam) by the installation of "Inspiration", a pentaptych of benches designed by Joanne Duby and Robert Guthrie, both local artists known for their creativity with natural stone.

"The design of the benches was inspired by the location, Inspiration Point, and its spectacular views. Each of the components of the bench allows for a different view as it curves to follow the shape of the coastline," says Joanne Duby, co-creator. "The idea of sharing these spectacular views with friends and family is reflective of the community synergy that helped to create these early stages of the Gardens."

"It was a collaborative effort," says Bob Guthrie, "-the Ventura Botanical Gardens organization, the City, the community, Joanne, and I were delighted to see the genesis of the bench installation series begin with this significant piece."

The bench is a combination of rough and polished stone drawn from original beach stone that was once river rock. Each piece of the five pieces of the bench is unique; one piece is a sculpture, the others fit in and statically interact with each other.

"My favorite piece in the installation is one that looks like a gigantic seedling just beginning to open," says Barbara Brown, Vice President of the Gardens, "that representation is so appropriate as it mirrors the Gardens in their state of development. Like a seedling, the Gardens have tremendous potential and we are just beginning to see what it might become."

The inscription, "The sea-once it cast its spell-holds one in its net of wonder forever" by Jacque Cousteau, provides further inspiration for the benches. The pieces are designed to sit comfortably in the natural environment of the location. All of the multiple pieces will be lifted by a crane that can, and may, reach over 108 ft., during the press event on June 20. After that, the public is welcome to come and see it, sit for a moment, and absorb the wonder of the setting and its magnificent views.

"We are proud to honor the first of our generous donors in this unique manner," states Joe Cahill, President of the organization, "in the next twelve months we will be honoring the other donors with unique and special artworks in the form of benches. Our goal is to continue to enhance the Gardens with both planting and benches so that the entire community can take part in the sparkling gem that is the Ventura Botanical Gardens."


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