It has been almost twenty years since In Between Earth and Sky (dedicated 1998) was created in Fritz Burns Park by de Matteis and Emerson and a lot has changed in the park since the piece was finished.
Mosaic artists Kim Emerson and Mosaic/Metal artist Alber de Mattheis, both living in San Diego at the time, collaborated on this project. They knew each other from working with another artist known for public art installations, James Hubble and saw the opportunity to put forth a proposal for a total of three individual pieces in La Quinta.
Matteis did the ironwork for a gate opening to the Fritz Burns pool, Emerson laid out the mosaics for several sidewalk pieces and the third component was In Between Earth and Sky. Standing at 12 ft tall, Emerson relayed in a phone conversation that the sculpture was originally envisioned to compliment the future public swimming pool, as each tower featured water and a shade area. Instead, the tennis courts and the children’s play park were built in proximity to the pieces which impacted the original design intent, but nonetheless serves the aesthetic and shade intention.
Emerson’s work is frequently influenced by the local landscape and the towers feature sculptural designs that are connected to the desert. In motif and in material, the artists used La Quinta sourced stones in addition to the Venetian glass for the mosaic. Emerson strives in her public artwork to create “something positive, to celebrate the beauty of the area”.
Let your eyes drift from Earth to Sky out here in the desert, and you see how the tonality and color variations mirror that of this piece. The metal trellis that finishes the piece reminds of water ripples, mirroring the nearby swimming pool, an oasis in the dry desert heat.
Visit In Between Earth and Sky at the Fritz Burns Park. The park is located at the corner of Avenida Bermudas and Avenue 52nd. Pick up a free public art map available by the city of La Quinta and plan to visit In Between Earth and Sky and more. It is a great way to get to know your neighborhood, whether you are visiting or live here.