By Rich Heimann, San Juan Capistrano
My wife and I recently moved to San Juan and needless to say, we love this town and have joined various groups for our own benefit and enjoyment. We are proud to be living here. We moved from Mission Viejo, and while that’s not a long distance by the road, it is indeed a long distance relative to the many historic sites, cultural icons and the culinary arts. From Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Los Rios District, the adobe homes, Native American legends, to the equestrian community, the Camino Real Playhouse, the many open spaces and many fine restaurants, San Juan Capistrano is indeed unique and cannot be mimicked. But we can do more–culturally! In my opinion, the city begs for more public art. I’m thinking of sculptures like the “Riders on Horses,” officially “Binding Contract,” along Del Obispo that Dan Almquist commissioned on his property; it’s beautifully done and merits a long look when passing by. On a larger scale, I would suggest that the city officials might consider emulating the “Art in Public Places” that the City of Brea has so successfully accomplished. Since 1984, that city has commissioned over 175 sculptures for their collection. Our neighbor, Dana Point, has a similar program. San Juan has grand and historic themes around which sculptures could be commissioned. Wouldn’t it be touching and yet amusing to see a couple of bronze Padre’s sitting on a city bench outside of the Mission Store, perhaps including Fr. Martin? A large sculpture on each of the corners at Del Obispo and Ortega would make an awesome statement when entering the city. A flock of flying swallows, a horse in all its majesty, and a replica of St. Juan Capistrano would be a few fitting and memorable renditions of San Juan’s rich heritage. There are numerous spaces around the downtown area that could accommodate a very noticeable work of art or sculpture. In the least, I would hope that the proposed new landscaping at the Gateway corners mentioned above would allow for footprints on which sculptures could be located in the future.