This will be the first in a series dedicated to the various pieces of public art found in and around La Quinta . There are well over 35 pieces dotted around our urban and desert landscape, the earliest being the obelisk street markers created in the 1930’s in La Quinta Cove. Metal sculptures, large scale and small, mosaics, murals, and more adorn these public spaces, a testimony to La Quinta’s commitment to the arts and enhancement of culture. The city has also purchased art from artists who have attended the La Quinta Arts Festival and has placed them throughout the city hall, library, community center and other public thoroughfares.
2014 is the year of the horse according to practitioners of Chinese astrology. So in spirit with the zodiac calendar, this is the second installment of horse art. The first dealt with La Quinta Arts Festival 2014 artists that featured the horse in their artwork; this post will talk about art pieces that are found in the city of La Quinta and are part of the City’s Art in Public Places program.
What is it about the horse that is so attractive and how is it that there are at least five horse sculptures in the city of La Quinta? Is it its essence? It’s beauty? It’s close relationship to us humans as helper, partner, yet its free spiritedness and wildness that we want to witness and yet try to tame? It’s symbol of a romanticized era of exploration and discovery in US history?
In La Quinta, you can view Sculptor Bill Ware’s the Don and Running Free. The Don features a conquistador on its back and Running Free depicts a mare and a foal running.
Andalusia by Patricia Borum is the largest and heaviest at 14 feet tall and weighs more than 3,000 pounds. She is a dedicated equestrian sculptor and was commissioned by the golf community of Andalusia at Coral Mountain to create this epic, monumental bronze sculpture featuring the Andalusian stallion and rider of its logo.
Bronze King David Spellerberg has two pieces in La Quinta on Madison Ave, a brazen stallion on a rock entitled Freedom and another of a mare and a stallion named Romance.
Historically, horses have a somewhat intimate relationship with the Coachella Valley. Juan Bautista de Anza came through these parts through what is now Anza Borrego and into the San Jacinto Mountains in the 1770’s with his group of over 200 people and 140 horses. The Spanish are famous for introducing horses to the North America’s – though there is some evidence that there were native horse species that died out about 7600 years ago. The Native Americans in the valley, such as the Cahuilla did have access to horses, as would have some of the farmers.
And then there are the polo clubs that bloomed throughout the eastern part of the valley since the turn of the last century. The Eldorado and Empire Polo Clubs are world famous for their grounds and polo games and are still open to the public every weekend for games from January through late March every year.
Public Art incentives often look to ideas and creative work to embellish the city streets with exciting pieces of artwork that are relatable to those who live or visit the region historically and culturally as well as art that touches and stirs. The horse is a creature, which certainly seems to stir the soul of many a human. A quote from Sir Winston Churchill underlines this relationship:
‘There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.’
Pick up a free public art map available by the city of La Quinta and plan a tour to visit the horse sculptures and more. It is a great way to get to know your neighborhood, whether you are visiting or live here.
The Don is located at Rancho La Quinta corner Washington St and Avenue 48.
Running Free is in front of Embassy Suites, corner Calle Tampico and Desert Club Drive.
Andalusia resides on Madison Ave south of Avenue 58.
Freedom and Romance are both on Madison Ave, south of Avenue 54.