by Judi Uthus
The City of Agoura Hills commissioned two outdoor rock art sculptures for the new Agoura Hills Recreation Center, “Men-an-tol West” and “Stillpoint.” The artworks were dedicated to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in gratitude of the organization’s generosity in providing a grant helping to build the new public facility opening January 5, 2015.
The pieces are inspired by ancient rock art and were created by Ojai sculptor Martha Moran. “Men-an-tol West” was sculpted after an original “Mên-an-Tol” in Cornwall, United Kingdom, which features a round stone with its middle holed out and two standing stones to each side. “It dates back to Megalithic times,” said Moran. “People believed if you went through the hole it would help cure illnesses.”
“Stillpoint” features the art of rock stacking with a delicate balance of polished stones atop a Kansas limestone fence post. “I try to honor the rocks I work with; I think about how ancient they are – what stories are scribed in their surfaces. With each piece, I strive to bring a sense of that ancient magic back into our lives,” said Moran, who is also the great-granddaughter of the Juan Reyes, whose family’s adobe became a cultural landmark in the city, the Reyes Adobe Historical Site.
Steve Hilton spoke for the Hilton Foundation at a recent preview of the center where a dedication was presented by Agoura Hills Mayor Bill Koehler. “We normally fund more global projects such feeding the homeless or providing clean water to Africa,” Hilton said, “but my grandfather believed his hotels served as a place for people to connect with one another and the new rec center does that for our community.”
The sculptures join other outdoor art at the new center. An interpretive area, donated by the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, features large sculptures representing local wildlife–a mountain lion, a bobcat and winding snake in an area that will be used to provide programs on local ecology.
A grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting for the new rec center will take place on January 10, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the new location, 29900 Ladyface Court, Agoura Hills, CA 91301. The celebration includes a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 11:30 a.m., guided tours of the new facility, food and refreshments, a bounce house, arts and crafts activities and free glitter tattoos for kids. For more details call (818) 597-7361.
The Arts in Public Places program is overseen by the Cultural Arts Council that assists the city with acquiring art for the public. The collection includes a variety of pieces: sculptures, paintings and murals. A map of the locations for viewing the art is available online at 91301.org or at City Hall, the library, and hotels and businesses. “This collection represents the work of an incredible group of well-known artists and we hope that the public will take the art tour and learn the significance of each piece,” said Zach Miller, recreation manager for the city.
For more information call (818) 597-7361 or visit www.ci.agoura-hills.ca.us.