The year was 2009 and the Temporary Public Arts Committee had just obtained a $10,000 loan from the City of Turlock to launch the “Sunny Side Up” project.
The committee, chaired by local attorney Axel Gomez, planned to put 24 fiberglass eggs that stand 4 feet tall around downtown Turlock. Each egg was to be decorated by a different artist, chosen by individual sponsors. The Turlock Downtown Property Owners’ Association partnered with the Public Arts Committee, guaranteeing repayment of the loan and helping out with solicitation of sponsors.
The vision was for church groups, scout packs, businesses and organizations to each adopt an egg — adding art with an ag flair to the city’s culture.
A new city-wide festival was planned for April 2010 to launch the egg art project and help bring in more funds to maintain the eggs.
Arts Commission members talked about how the eggs could be a unifying project, appealing to all ages while being a distinguishing characteristic of Turlock. Despite a few skeptics — including a Journal reporter or two — the project was well-received and at least two major businesses threw their financial support behind the campaign.
So what happened to the project? The money was all spent and a website touting the project was created — http://sunnysideupturlock.com/ – but three years later there’s not an egg in sight.
The Public Arts Committee is now defunct and not a single member of the newly appointed Turlock Arts Commission knows anything about the super-sized eggs and their intended use. When contacted, Gomez said although he is no longer involved with the Arts Commission, he would gladly support a new campaign for “Sunny Side Up.”
According to Turlock Downtown Property Owners’ Association coordinator Dana McGarry, the project is set to be discussed at the association’s August meeting. McGarry said she has spent weeks trying to track down who was paid to design the egg molds, where the one mold that was actually created is currently located and information on sponsorships.
For a project that received so much support, it’s a little confusing how everything just fell apart.
I know the Arts Commission has had trouble in the past few years getting anything done, as very rarely did enough of the 25-member commission show up to meet quorum. This problem was just addressed with the newly elected commission consisting of only seven members and two alternates, hopefully allowing progress to be made on commission projects.
Another obstacle hindering the Arts Commission is the loss of the city arts facilitator position. Without a paid facilitator, the all-volunteer commission has had to rely on its members’ ability to plan, market and fundraise all projects in their free time.
The downtown association recently saw a change in leadership as well, putting a rift in the continuity of information.
As a member of a local service club and church committee, I am all too familiar with the challenges of trying to organize a group of volunteers to accomplish a major project. Dedication, organization and enthusiasm are all key to getting things done.
Hopefully, the renewed efforts of the downtown association will resurrect the Sunny Side Up project and soon giant eggs will be a fixture of Turlock.
This column is the opinion of Kristina Hacker and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.