Saturday, May 22, 2010
Color at the beach
Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway in California, our beach's life-guard shacks are a familiar sight.
These shed-roofed wooden shacks, with their ramps or steps appear in films, TV and commercials shot on the beaches of L.A. They are such an iconic symbol of our lifestyle that I once saw them used - in scale-model form - as part of a floral centerpiece for a fundraising dinner.
They are painted pale and faded aqua - a pleasing color against the sand and the sea.
But this May, driving past the beach on my regular commute, I've been startled to see bright colors at the shacks. The handrailings and ramps of each shack are now brilliantly colored - orange or yellow, green or bright blue, and purple. What's going on?
It's part of a five-month public art project called "Summer of Color," sponsored by Project of Hope, a private non-profit. Thousands of local volunteers painted the railings, and also decorated panels to be installed on each tower. Many of the young artists are participating in arts and creative therapy programs for ill, disabled, or troubled kids, programs sponsored by the non-profit.
The colorful lifeguard towers will be on display all summer long, and when the project is over, the plywood panels will be donated to Haiti to be used in building transitional shelters.