The Berkeley Waterfront Commission rejected landing rights to Spaceship Earth in their bailiwick last week, leaving the 350,000-square-foot blue sphere still in search of a home.
The panel’s action Wednesday marks the second time the sculpture has been denied a proposed location. The first rejection came in San Francisco, where that city’s Visual Arts Committee rejected the work at any site in the city.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates is a big fan of the orb, and the Civic Arts Commission (CAC) has the task of finding an appropriate site.
A CAC site subcommittee with representatives from the Waterfront and the Parks and Recreation committees proposed the waterfront as their first choice.
Brad Smith, the waterfront representative on the CAC panel, made no secret of his disdain for the creation of Finno-American sculptor Eino’s creation, referring to it as “the Brower object.”
Smith was out with the flu Wednesday, but it didn’t matter when the sculpture came up for a vote. Only commission chair Paul Kamen voted to accept it, while the others offered enthusiastic thumbs down.
“There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for the Brower object,” said David Snippen, the CAC chair.
The panel had pinned their hopes on the waterfront, but with that option off the table, the remaining sites fall within the purview of the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Those sites are Cedar Rose Park and the westernmost end of Ohlone Park.
Plans for a site at the Lawrence Hall of Science were rejected by UC Berkeley, as was another proposed location at Tilden Park.
Snippen says he hopes to schedule another site selection panel meeting before the whole commission meets again on March 23.
“The parks commissioners said that if we go for a site recommendation in the parks, they’ll want to hold a public hearing to get community input,” Snippen said.
The CAC chair says he’s also considering taking his short list recommendations to the City Council “with the qualification that public hearings will be held.”