Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley area are widely praised for the quality of life residents enjoy. Art and cultural institutions play an important role in that quality of life. While many residents enjoy the public art on display, they may be unaware that married couple Nancy and Gary Harrington are responsible for bringing more than 24 pieces of public art to the Tri-Valley region.
October, for example, brought the new "Live Well, Be Well" mural into view at the entrance to Kaiser's facility for pediatric services in Pleasanton. More than 47 submissions from artists nationwide were considered for the artwork. The winning design, which highlights noteworthy local locations as well as healthy choices, was created by Pleasanton artist Mark Shawver.
The "Live Well, Be Well" mural was made possible by the Harringtons, retired educators and art lovers who are so devoted to bringing public art to the area that they created the Harrington Art Partnership in 2011. The Harrington Art Partnership was the result of working with the City of Pleasanton and several artists to develop a formal process for acquiring public art.
What drives this couple's passion? According to the couple, it is their "hearts' mission" to offer children opportunities to experience a broad array of public art as a means of "enabling them to witness the ways in which artists use their creativity, senses, emotions, and materials to express themselves."
The couple's first public art donation to the City of Pleasanton was the "Poppies" sculpture by Stanley Proctor, which sits in front of the remodeled Veterans Memorial Building. "Poppies" is a life-size bronze sculpture portraying a World War II veteran. Many other donations have followed, including a pair of glass marquees by world-renowned architectural glass artist Martin Donlin on the exterior of the Firehouse Arts Center and "Monet's Bench," a sculpture by Gary Price, in the outdoor plaza.
The Harringtons are not content with donating public art; they also share their enthusiasm for it by leading a Pleasanton Public Art Walk the second Saturday of each month. Public art gives people something to "ponder over - maybe trigger a memory or make them wonder what the artist might have been thinking," says the couple. "We want this interaction. That's what public art is about."
In collaboration with other donors, the Harrington Art Partnership plans to purchase and install many new pieces of public art to join the long list of pieces that already inspire, brighten, educate, and excite local residents. The couple's latest project is gathering support for a cultural park in Pleasanton that would reflect the area's growing diversity as well as being another showcase for public art.
The idea was sparked in August 2018, when the Harringtons attended Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor juried sculpture show in the country, at Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland, Colorado. During the festival the couple saw a piece called "Cultural Pedestrians," which seemed perfectly suited for the entrance to a cultural park in Pleasanton.
To make this vision a reality, the Harringtons need to demonstrate public backing for the idea via letters of support from businesses, organizations, and residents of the City of Pleasanton. The Hacienda community can add their voice with by sending letters of support to them at email@example.com. Letters must be sent no later than December 14, 2018.
For more information about the Harrington Art Partnership, please visit www.pleasanton.org/list/member/harrington-art-partnership-6122.