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Whittier approves art projects for The Groves

WHITTIER – Whittier’s city council greenlit plans last week to install art throughout Heritage Trail at The Groves housing and retail development.

Included in the plans is the installment of four different elements to be placed throughout Heritage Trail, including art pavilions, historical trail markers, a mockingbird tree sculpture at the commons, and Poets Park.

The Art Pavilions are designed to become immersive and functional sculptures with a series of sculptural steel walls, supporting a roof structure to create a usable interior space, surrounded by a sculpture viewed from the inside and out. The sculptural walls shall use historic photographs to depict images of the Fred C. Nelles site and the groves of Whittier. The pavilions will be installed with the construction of the Heritage Court tentatively scheduled to open in the summer of 2021.

A total of seven informational markers will be located along Heritage Trail, approximately six feet tall and finished with brick to match the brick character of many of the buildings from the Fred C. Nelles era. The markers will be inset with colorful signage addressing the history of the site within the themes of general site history, Nelles’ work and the role of the Fred C. Nelles Site within the history of Whittier, unique rehabilitation programs, athletics, agriculture, and architecture.

The Mockingbird Tree Sculpture will celebrate the tree as a natural resource, integrated into the environment of the Groves. It will be installed in front of the Commons, one of the retained and rehabilitated buildings from the Nelles era on site, reimagined as an 11,000-square-foot Community Center. Installation will occur in February-March, 2020, prior to the opening of the site to the public.

Poets Park is an approximate 10,000 sq. ft. park celebrating the Fireside Poets. The park will include informational plaque introducing patrons to the Fireside Poets, including Whittier’s namesake, John Greenleaf Whittier.

Poets Park would be constructed contemporaneously with the nearby Plunge community pool.

Total cost for the entire project would total an estimated $1,048,000.

The item was approved 4-0 as a part of the consent calendar, with Councilmember Josue Alvarado absent.

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