The City of Santa Rosa in California has installed a 65ft obelisk sculpted from recycled bicycles. The artwork, appropriately named ‘Cyclisk’, is the talk of the town because it was funded by car company Nissan and has gone up in the heart of the automotive district.
“There are some really wide-ranging thoughts on it but I think that’s what art is about,” said Christine Culver, executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.
“There are folks that think it’s strange that it was a car company that funded bike art but it was the car company’s choice. I think bike art is so cool and it’s beautiful. You can see it from so far away.”
The obelisk was created by Petaluma-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector, who were commissioned by the city to create a dynamic new piece of artwork for the Santa Rosa corridor. It weighs 10,000lb and is made from roughly 340 recycled bicycles collected from local nonprofit community bike projects. It took nearly four months of welding to manufacture.
It might seem odd that the Cyclisk was installed across the street from an auto body shop and towers over a section of town highly populated with car dealerships, but it was no coincidence.
The project cost $37,000 and was funded by the one percent tax on a new $3.7 million Nissan dealership building. The “1% for Art” is required by the city for commercial projects that cost more than $500,000 to build.
Some community members feel the Cyclisk makes a political statement about alternative transportation while others simply view it as a unique addition to the eclectic array of downtown street art.
“I don’t think it’s a political statement and I don’t think the artist intended it to be either,” Culver said. “Cycling is quite big here in Santa Rosa and I think it’s just a great tribute to cycling.”
A 65ft obelisk called Ilana Spector