Staff Report

A large, temporary art installation in a median on First Street in Solvang is causing a bit of a stir in town and on social media.

Members of the Solvang City Council and others on Aug. 31 unveiled the sculpture of a golden beer stein in a curbed median where a large coast live oak tree stood until last September. The aging tree was diseased and had become a safety hazard, so it was removed.

A new tree has been planted, but for now it is dwarfed by the stein.

Comments came quickly in a local Facebook chat group.

“Great, another reason for people to stand in the middle of the road … the city could have considered something more tasteful to kick off this new rotation,” wrote Eliza McGlinchey on the SYV Chat Room.

“Whether you like it or not, give this creator a break and acknowledge the skills and abilities,” remarked former City Council member Hans Duus, who is a blacksmith and metal artist.

The giant beer stein was made by the late artist, hospital administrator and psychologist Morris Bear Squire, and it is on loan from the Morris B. Squire Foundation in Santa Barbara. The nonprofit foundation focuses on creative empowerment through the arts.

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