Cactus as Art Will Grace Part of the Santa Monica Boulevard Median

‘cacti,’ an installation by James Peterson

“cacti,” a public art sculpture by artist James Peterson, is being installed on the median of Santa Monica Boulevard east of Doheny. The installation will be celebrated on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at an artist’s reception in the median.

That section of the median is the city’s ocean-friendly demonstration garden. Median plantings in the location were designed in collaboration with West Basin Municipal Water District using ecological principles and water conservation. Water-efficient plants, native to California, are meant to showcase the beauty of drought-tolerant plantings.

An announcement of the installation says that “with ‘cacti,’ the artist mimics and honors these resilient, native Californian models of self-sustainability, taking visual cues from the Barrel, Yucca, Agave, Nopal, Organ Pipe, and Saguaro cacti. During the day, transparent materials that include dichroic film and tinted resin will combine with sunlight to create twinkling reflective treasures.”

James Peterson is a Michigan native with a BFA from Kendall College of Art & Design. His work has been featured at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, at Burning Man, at the Coachella Valley Art & Music Festival, at Art Basel both in Switzerland and Miami, at Kunst Raum in Switzerland and at other public art installations around the world. In addition to his own design and fabrication company, Art & Contraptions, Peterson is an educator at SCI-ARC (Southern California School of Architecture) specializing in materials and applications. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

“cacti” is an Art on the Outside project organized by the city’s Arts Division, part of the city’s Economic Development Department. The Art on the Outside program installs rotating temporary artworks on the city’s medians and in parks. It is anticipated to be on display through March 2019.


5 Comments
  1. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of our flora and fauna on Earth is well on its way to going extinct, with anthropogenic forcing the single major cause. Within a generating we may find that much of what we know as wildlife will only exist as a memory in our art.

    For more information see:

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert

  2. Virtual art, virtual plant life, virtual landscaping. Trying way too hard by and for folks that just can’t handle reality. Weho appears the antithesis of nature.

  3. What’s going on with the rest of the SM Blvd medians further East near Starbucks and 24 hr fitness. They pulled out all the greenery years ago due to the drought and instead of replacing with something drought tolerant or even decorative, they have just left them as ugly piles of dirt. How can a city who can afford a automated parking lot at City Hall not afford to clean and maintain our center medians. How long does it take to have some gardeners plant some drought tolerant landscape. Ridiculous!

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