Council member questions why planned Convention Center sculpture going to nonlocal artists

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – When the newly renovated Sacramento Convention Center downtown opens back up at the end of May, it still won’t be complete — not until the rocket ship lands.

Earlier this week, the Sacramento City Council approved the commission of a rocket sculpture.

The $750,000 project falls under the city’s Art in Public Places Program, where pieces are paid for entirely, or in part, by the city’s public project budget.

In the meantime, taxpayer money is funding the rocket.

It will also be 34-feet tall and light up at night.

“It’s exactly what we want to be having lift-off into the future. I think that’s kinda fun. I like the whimsy of it,” said Lennee Eller, program manager for public art for the city of Sacramento.

But like most art, it’s up to interpretation with questions remaining.

“When I saw such a significant investment going to an artist that wasn’t based in Sacramento, I wanted to ask the question whether we had any policy around investing in artists that are based locally,” said Councilmember Katie Valenzuela.

The artists that will make the rocket are from San Diego.

Valenzuela told her colleagues this week that she wants that to be investigated, adding that she hears complaints from local artists about being overlooked.

“I would like to request that staff bring back some ordinance around this for us to consider,” she said.

The rocket ship will be erected outside of the convention center in September.

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