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Sony to install giant rainbow sculpture at its Culver City studios

by The Daily Breeze


Westside residents soon will be able to enjoy the sight of a rainbow every day, rain or shine.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced plans to install a 94-foot tall steel sculpture of a rainbow at its studios in Culver City.

“Rainbow” is the result of a collaboration between Sony Pictures’ leadership team and well-known multimedia artist Tony Tasset.

“This project presented a tremendous opportunity to connect present and past,” Tasset said in a prepared statement. “A rainbow provided a bridge both physically – arching across a section of the lot – and symbolically through its connection to specific films like `The Wizard of Oz,’ shot on the lot, and to light itself.”

Culver City has long been an important center for the movie industry. The studios that now host Sony Pictures Entertainment were built in 1915 under the name Ince/Triangle Studios. They were purchased by Samuel Goldwyn in 1918.

After the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer merger in 1924, the lot was used to film such classics as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Singing in the Rain” and “National Velvet.”

“We wanted something that referenced not only the studio’s history but also the cultural commodity that we have here in Culver City,” said Keith Weaver, senior vice president of worldwide government affairs for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The studios were purchased by Sony Pictures in 1989.

The $1.6 million “Rainbow” project will be funded in part by money set aside to fulfill Sony Pictures’ Public Art requirement.

Culver City’s Municipal Code states that any new construction projects costing more than $500,000 and remodeling projects costing more than $250,000 must allocate 1 percent of the budget for some form of public art.

Funding for “Rainbow” comes from the 2009 construction of two new office buildings and a parking structure at the studios.

“Sony Pictures’ decision to create something as remarkable as the `Rainbow’ on its lot is above and beyond our expectations of the Public Art requirement and speaks volumes about Sony’s commitment to Culver City,” Mayor Micheal O’Leary said.

“We’re doing not just what is minimally required, but something that is meaningful to the community overall,” Weaver said.

The project was approved in May by the Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission. The rainbow, which will be composed of a steel truss and aluminum panels, will be constructed off site and installed at the lot early next year.

“Culver City has this amazing emphasis on the value of art in the community, and we are thrilled to be able to deliver something as memorable as Tony’s `Rainbow’ sculpture will be,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Tasset is best known for his enormous Paul Bunyan statue at Governors State University in Illinois and “Eye,” a giant sculpture of an eyeball in Chicago’s Pritzker Park. Like his other works, “Rainbow” will also make a statement with its size.

At 94 feet tall and 188 feet wide, the sculpture will span the distance between the studios’ Main Street and Madison Avenue entrance on the eastern portion of the lot. Developers of the public artwork, which will be visible from many parts of the city, hope that the rainbow inspires optimism in all who see it.

“A lot of people have smiled at the notion of a rainbow that is visible and iconic,” Weaver said. “Whether you’re 5 years old or 50 years old, everyone loves a rainbow.”

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