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Artists Compete for Spot at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center

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SACRAMENTO --

Sacramento artist Gale Hart is working on something -- something big.

"What am I going do? I have all these ideas. I have so many ideas. Am I going to do something political? Am I going to do something fun?" mused Sacramento artist Gale Hart.

She's one of 17 finalists for 4 public art spaces slated for Sacramento's new arena.

"There's some good competition, for sure," Hart said.

The 16 other artists are all from Northern California. Several are from the Sacramento area, others are based in San Francisco, Chico and Auburn.

"I don't know if I have any angst trying to beat somebody, as much as trying to do the best thing and the thing that's going to represent what I do," said Bryan Valenzuela, another finalist competing to have his work become a permanent part of the arena.

It's a process that's already had its share of controversy, with the centerpiece selection of Jeff Koons' $8 million homage to Winnie the Pooh character, Piglet.

"Whether people love the Koons piece or not. Or are behind it or not... he's doing something he believes in," Valenzuela said.

And both artists say that will be the litmus test for a successful competition for them too -- believing in their work -- whether it be Hart's use of form and physicality or Valenzuela's subtle commentary on encoding and subtext.

His figures are often composed of thousands words.

Over the next couple of months, all 17 artists will get paid to work up a model for the piece they will ultimately propose.

And then they will have to compose themselves for the Metropolitan Art Commission's final selections.