Los Altos Erects New Blimp Statue


Photo by Francesca Fallow.

Recently, people driving past the small park area at the corner of Springer and El Monte have been greeted by an unfamiliar sight: a 10-foot high zeppelin with long, skeletal legs perched amidst green grass and trees.

The piece is called ‘Archimedes Goose’, and it’s one of the latest sculptures to be installed in Los Altos by the city’s Public Arts Commission. Created by artist Arnold Martin, ‘Archimedes Goose’ was installed on October 27, and is currently on loan to the city for the next 2 years.

Every piece in the city’s Public Outdoor Sculpture loan program is installed with approval from the members of the City Council. At the June 14 City Council meeting where ‘Goose’ and other sculptures were scheduled for approval, councilmember Megan Satterlee expressed her reservations about the location of the sculpture.

She spoke of the desire to maintain Los Altos’ traditional, small-town charm, and felt that the sculpture did not accurately reflect this in its proposed location.

“The trouble I’m having is the juxtaposition of the piece with the small, passive park at the gateway to Los Altos,” Satterlee said.

At the same meeting, Commission Chair Doug Edwards spoke of the Commission’s interest in the piece.

“For us, I think it really spoke to the combination of technology and nature,” Edwards said. “I think it’s an apt metaphor for Los Altos and what happens in our community.”

After a brief discussion, City Council approved ‘Archimedes Goose’, with every member with the exception of Satterlee voting to move forward with its installation. In addition, three other sculptures proposed by the Public Arts Commission were approved: “Stainless Heart, Edition Three” by Paul Kuniholm Pauper, “Barred Spiral” by Jeff Downing, and “Sit” by Patricia Vader, all scheduled for future installation.

These sculptures come from the The Public Outdoor Sculpture Loan program, an initiative of the Commission, which seeks to enhance the aesthetic value of public spaces through sculpture.

“As part of the Public Outdoor Sculpture Loan program, the Commission conducts sculpture searches, evaluates and recommends sculptures, identifies sculpture locations and works with City staff on placement and maintenance of sculptures,” The Public Arts Commission website says. “Additionally, the Commission promotes artists’ works through media exposure of the City’s sculpture program.”