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Ojai’s Newest Public Art Project by Douglas Lochner

“Fun for All” is not just decorative. The lizard and ladybug provide seating for visitors and an imaginative play environment for children of all ages. The lizard and ladybug are sculpted out of reinforced concrete that was purposefully left “uncolored” so children can use their imagination when interacting with the sculptures.

Douglas Lochner with his unfinished lizard.

It’s not often you get a chance to see a giant 5 ton lizard flying through the air, but the media, members of the Ojai Public Arts Commission, Ojai City Council Members and the artist, Douglas Lochner, had that opportunity on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at Libbey Park in Ojai, California. The public art installation, “Fun for All” consists of a lizard, a giant ladybug and a whimsical archway that will be set by crane dividing the area between the children’s playground at Libbey Park and the tot lot.
“Fun for All” is not just decorative. The lizard and ladybug provide seating for visitors and an imaginative play environment for children of all ages. The lizard and ladybug are sculpted out of reinforced concrete that was purposefully left “uncolored” so children can use their imagination when interacting with the sculptures. The archway, which appears to be a giant version of children’s blocks, provides a formal separation between the two play areas.
Phase II of “Fun for All” invokes community involvement through decorating the lizard: Lochner envisions it skinned in pennies. Children at local schools will get a fun lesson in geography by collecting as many pennies from other countries as possible. These will be cleaned and installed (with Lochner’s assistance) by the community on the lizard. Each year, more coins will be added to the sculpture until it’s completely skinned with pennies.
According to the Chair of the Committee to Approve Public Art (CAPA):
Douglas Lochner’s proposal for the community playground is an example of public art as place making. The lizard, the ladybug, the archway, and the art wall help to define the playground as a place for youth. Libbey Park Community Playground has already established itself as the go-to playground in Ventura County. Lochner’s public art installation solidifies that reputation.
Last year, Ojai City Council approved a waiver to satisfy the public art requirement that was submitted by Ravenridge Development of the Craftsman Village, a Marc Whitman project. The required public art allocation was deposited to the public art fund and subsequently used to fund “Fun for All.”
Additionally, because the actual project costs far exceeded the allocated funds, Lochner made a substantial donation to bring it to life. According to Lochner, “I felt the project should be a living installation that changes over time and encompasses multiple generations of Ojai youth. The original RFP didn’t have the funds to allow for that, but I felt strongly about my vision so I stepped up to help make it happen.”
A formal ribbon cutting and community celebration will be on Ojai Day at 11:00 am between the tot area and the junior area of Libbey Park’s Community Playground.

ABOUT DOUGLAS LOCHNER
Douglas Lochner is an Ojai Valley-based professional artist who since 2007 has focused exclusively on creating site-specific art for public spaces. Lochner works in a wide variety of mediums—including glass, metal, stone, concrete, wood, software, and electronics—and has a passion for interactive and functional works. His studio works include kinetic sculptures, blown and cast glass, fine art lighting and furniture as well as architectural elements such as doors and gates. His large sculptures grace museums, hospitals, public buildings and parks, and airports—including the currently in-progress “Wings of Honor,” a WWII Veterans’ tribute at the Santa Barbara Airport. Once installed, it will be the largest cantilevered glass sculpture in the world. In 2015 Lochner was inducted into the Focus on the Masters archive of American Artists. A gallery of his work is available at www.ArtThatWorks.com.