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Santa Barbara’s Deteriorating Chromatic Gate

Adorned by dirt, mold, and even a discarded shoe, Herbert Bayer’s Chromatic Gate, 633 East Cabrillo Blvd,  looks worse than ever. Somebody in the City of Santa Barbara… please get out a power washer and show some rainbow pride!

Chromatic Gate on 1/10/12
Filthy public art in Santa Barbara

The Chromatic Gate Should Shine

23 Responses to “Santa Barbara’s Deteriorating Chromatic Gate”

  1. Garlands Forever

    Why did the city accept this gift without requiring an dedicated maintenance fund from the donor. What is the city’s art acquisition policy? The neglect of this art piece is a shame. But then so have been many of the city’s past decisions.

    • Green depleted Pot of Gold

      City threw new environmental requirements on the paint and organic volatile compounds – that apparently has been a big expense road block and decimation of the existing maintenance endowment.

  2. el_smurfo

    Better watch out using the term “pride”. Everyone knows this piece has nothing to do with LGBT politics (except for the fact that it appears on the Pacific Pride flags on State each year). Not trying to troll, but also not a fan of this little slice of hypocrisy.

  3. SBBeachcomber

    Regardless of who put it there or what it represents, if it is not maintained it should be removed, it is an eyesore.

  4. Be the Change

    Sad. But I’m sure a lot of people in this artsy community would come together to clean and repaint it. How do we do it? Does it have to be sanctioned by the City?

  5. Public employee unions control who gets to work on city property. Volunteerism is often prohibited under these union contracts. Which is why you want independent council persons making future employee contract decisions instead of those endorsed and funded by those very same employee union protectionists.

    This is how governments go bad in small ways and become alien life forms in our midst. Well meaning residents closed out even when they want to help and volunteer. All because a city council majorities making these decisions have their hands tied because they let themselves become beholden to union endorsements and campaign contributions.

    Voters can make the most difference putting non-union people on city councils and negotiated better contracts that allow for resident volunteers when the needs are present. Ask your conservative council persons to generate a work party to clean this place up. Then sit back and watch the fun or the surprising “can do”.

    But you do remember the $50,000 bench moving project, don’t you? That is what happens when city planners and city paid staff get to do even the simplest project. Ironic, we pay city staff to remove painted surfaces when they are called grafitti. But we can’t get city to work with volunteers to paint projects the city already owns.

  6. Calvary to the rescue

    City works with volunteers to re-paint the city pedestrian bridges. Why not get the same group to re-paint the Chromatic Gate? Frank Hotchkiss, you are an art lover. Head this task up and let’s get it done. The city was going to paint a Blue Line on the sidewalks. How was that going to work?

  7. There’s an Arts Advisory Commission, with a city staffer, Executive Director Ginny Brush in charge; Frank Hotchkiss is the council liaison.

    • This article on Herbert Bayer’s Chromatic Gate by Jessica Hilo
      Feb 27, 2011 gives a good account of the Chromatic Gate’s history and creator. The steel, once rainbow-colored sculpture, stands 21 feet high and weighs a hefty 12.5 tons. Is any organization trying to raise fends for its restoration? Thank you View for bringing. this to our attention

  8. Time Saver

    City Arts Advisory group deals with policy mainly and not project maintenance. Though this is the group to give counsel for sculpture acquisition policies that require on-going maintenance funding when accepting said works of art.

    County Arts Commission proudly lists Chromatic Gates along with a vividly colored photo of its former self. Don’t think that website has been updated in a while. Parks and Rec seems to be the more likely resource to contact as it is on their property.

    P&R has “no money”, but maybe the Parks and Rec Commission of citizen volunteers can give you and update and help you look for grants as well as policies for volunteer groups to help with the actual work. Look on the city website for the meeting of the Parks and Rec Commission and ask your questions in public comment.

    Contact any sort of Bauhaus Art Foundation and/or ARCO who long supported the works of Herbert Bayer and let them know the dreary state this piece of art is in today. Maybe they have restoration funds. How about the Getty Museum in LA – do they have a special fund for maintenance of public art? We know they have more money than God.

    Perfect use for the Clark Estate bequest monies – arts development in Santa Barbara ….if the distant relatives don’t run off with the loot instead, allegedly bequeathed to the city in her Final Final Will.

  9. Maintenance may not be the role of the Arts Advisory Committee (but it should be, the upkeep of public art) but the arts budget is limited. Paint (and a special and expensive kind/quality of paint would come out of the Arts budget. (Where can one find the details of various city department budgets, Arts, streets, parking, etc.?)

  10. ..if there is no money to maintain it, do not accept it….if you have accepted it, and there is no money to maintain it, remove it…..

  11. Anonymous

    Funny that in all the money spent by the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency not one dollar could be appropriated for restoring this very public artwork from its blighted condition. But there was unlimited RDA money to spend on a train car that no one can visit because it’s they forgot it had to be ADA-compliant. Way to set priorities! Maybe if they put some housing under the rainbow, we could get it painted. City “leaders,” we’re watching. And waiting.

  12. Take it down… because it’s lame, not just because it’s filthy.

  13. SB Region Chamber Chief Steve Cushman says it will take $30,000 to repaint the rainbow. The mayor seems to think they can find the $$$$$.

    • el_smurfo

      $30k? I can get my whole house painted for under $2k. I can get a decent car paintjob for under a third of that quote and a car is a lot more detailed a paintjob than this heap. I’ll do it for $15k and I’ll even check out a high school textbook to get the colors in the right order…Better yet, turn our fine high school football boosters loose on it and save the poor plastic cow her dignity.

  14. Maybe when the Gate is re-painted, we can get the colors in the correct chromatic order: Red to orange to yellow to green to blue to violet.
    The present incorrect order has always bugged me about this piece… other than that, I have no problem with it!

  15. Cost-Benefit

    Whatever it costs to re-paint it, it would cost a lot more to tear it down or relocate it back to the donors depending upon the terms of the acceptance agreement.

    This is a classic piece of art by a renowned member of the Bauhaus movement who lived and worked here locally. It is a part of our history and our people.

    Save it and be sure it is funded on an adequate maintenance cycle. Agree, this is what RDA should have supported but it may not be the the RDA zone.

  16. Dan Seibert

    Last June I posted the same question on another website and sent a photo to the city council. Grant House and Ginny Brush from the city both replied. Grant said this,

    “The long-deferred maintenance of The Chromatic Gate is on the
    Redevelopment Agency’s capital improvements list we just worked
    on yesterday. It is part of the Cabrillo Park schedule in the
    next 2 year budget that starts July 1. So far, it appears to have
    full Council support.”

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Dan O! So with redevelopment gone that means the maintenance will continue to be deferred. Just ridiculous!!

  17. It is called Chromatic Gates; not Rainbow Arch. Roy G. Biv need not be consulted on this matter.

  18. Ken Rose

    As a former resident of Santa Barbara I feel qualified to make the following observation,
    When the city accepts a perminent gift from one of it’s citizens it carries an implied
    contract for all future maintenance issues or respectfully turn down the gift ! The
    maintenance should be the resposibility of the Parks Dept. if it’s maintained every
    year it’s not such a heavy burden at one time. It’s a gift, remember that above all.
    Ken Rose