Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - February 28, 2014

State of the art

Public and private art is everywhere in Pleasanton

by Glenn Wohltmann

Art is in abundance in Pleasanton, from the Harrington Art Gallery in the Firehouse Arts Center -- a work of art itself -- to literally dozens of public and private pieces openly displayed across the city.

Although public art in Pleasanton has been a fixture as far back as 1981, much of the public art is thanks to Gary and Nancy Harrington, who found and purchased their first piece for the city, "Poppies," in 2005.

It took more than nine months of meetings to make it happen, but "Poppies" was installed in front of the Veterans Memorial Building on Main Street and unveiled on Veterans Day 2007.

Since then, the Harringtons have been instrumental in bringing art to public places in Pleasanton with a program called HAPPY (Harrington Art Partnership Piece for You), which raises money for public art and coordinates with the city to find locations for pieces.

Gary Harrington is happy with the cooperation he's found from Pleasanton city leaders.

"I'm proud of our little city," he said, adding, "I'm sure there's more we could do. It just takes time."

The Harringtons also lead monthly art walks on second Saturdays in spring and fall. Those walks will begin on March 15 and run through June, then pick up again from September through December. They leave from City Hall, 123 Main St. at 8:30 a.m.

The city has a thriving community of artists as well. The Pleasanton Art League was founded in 1969, and the works of founding member Charlotte Severin can be found across the city, at the Pleasanton School District Administrative Offices, in City Manager Nelson Fialho's office, at the Firehouse Arts Center and even here at the Pleasanton Weekly office.

Severin was also among the artists who worked on and helped restore the mural "Pleasanton 100 Years Ago," located at 397 Ray St.

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