Even though it was not the right color, the bright orange, 12-foot tall steel monument looked like Swiss cheese to many of teacher Beverly Davidson's second grade students.
Like Swiss cheese, there were numerous holes. And despite orders to look and not touch, most of the students could not resist.
They left their fingerprints. They climbed on and through "Defiance," an artwork by Laguna Beach sculptor Harold L. PastoriusJr.
The piece was one of 10 new sculptures unveiled last week at Progress Park Plaza as part of the Outdoor Art Museum in Paramount.
"That's the beauty of outdoor art. It is to be touched. You can feel it. You can bang on it," said Patrick West, deputy city manager.
Several hundred elementary and junior high school students in the Paramount Unified School District, along with many adults, visited the exhibit.
While the youths banged on the art, some of the adults chose to comment.
"Some of it is pretty good. Some of it should be dumped," said John Dykzeul, 60, who was a sailor, construction worker and bar owner before his recent retirement.
"It is interesting. It gives the city prestige. It is uplifting," said Teresa Ojinaga.
The city encourages developers to contribute to the Art in Public Places fund or to commission artists to produce art for the developer's project, West said. The city does not require business participation, he said. Some cities have ordinances stipulating that developers set aside money for public art or include it in their projects.
The 10 pieces, commissioned by developers or bought with their donations, will be moved to various permanent sites throughout the city in the next few weeks. The sites include City Hall, the library and several street corners. Four other works, purchased when the program started in 1985, already are placed around the city.
The 14 pieces are valued at $378,000. Contributors to the program include 10 developers and businesses, along with five artists.
The artists, some of whom have national reputations, work in media ranging from marble to steel.
Pastorius, an often-commissioned artist, is the most frequent exhibiter with seven pieces in the program.
His seven pieces are: "Defiance," to be placed at the southwest corner of Paramount Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue; "9 by 9 by 9," a large yellow cube, due to go outside City Hall; "Vestige," a red steel piece that is 16 feet tall and more than 14 feet wide, will be placed in front of the Clearwater Intermediate School auditorium; "Modified Box," a 9-by-6-foot cube, will go to the newly remodeled Paramount Park Community and Senior Center; "Boxes," a five-foot cube will be painted to blend with its site on Alondra Parkway; "Fluid," which will be placed in front of the Paramount Library, is 12 feet tall, unpainted and has a corrugated appearance, and "Delineation," a 4 1/2-foot tall multicolored piece that will go in the hall patio of Progress Park.
Arlene Cartozian, an art instructor at California State University, Long Beach, contributed four pieces, among them are the first three pieces given to the program in 1985.
The first of these, "Sustenance," is a three-foot marble statue of a man and woman laboring with hand tools over a huge stone. It is in front of the Orange Avenue Industrial Park.
Name Tells Its Story
"The Die Is Cast," which represents the process used to make steel tools, is at the entrance of the Garfield Avenue Industrial Park.
"Hole in One" is a seven-foot limestone abstract sculpture, also at the Garfield site.
Cartozian's fourth piece, "Let the Children," a three-foot-tall marble sculpture, is being completed and will be placed in front of the Evangelical Free Church.
Venice artist Betty Gold's "Kai Koo VII" is a 21-foot tall abstract steel work that stands on Alondra Avenue at the western entrance of the city.
Orange County sculptor Sue Kim's "Sonatina" is 14 feet tall and is an abstract piece sculpted from pure white Carrara Italian marble. The work, recently completed in Carrara, Italy, will be placed in Progress Park.
Dallas sculptor Herbert Goldman's abstract piece entitled "Unnamed," sculpted from bronze, will be placed in front of the city's maintenance yard.