Steve Larsen Plaza project accepting proposals for public art installations

How do you honor one of Davis’s most celebrated figures?

In the case of Steve Larsen, the late champion bicyclist and local business owner, the Davis Civic Arts Commission is looking for artists to submit proposals for artwork that will be installed in the new Steve Larsen Memorial Plaza at the Davis High School Stadium.

The Civic Arts Commission will be accepting proposals until August 31.

A devoted father and loving husband, Larsen became a legend in mountain biking, road racing and the XTERRA road triathlon. He was successful in business as well, as the owner of an online triathlon company and a real estate business. Born and raised in Davis, he married his high school sweetheart and from there came his greatest achievement – his five children – who were his top priority.

He died suddenly in May of 2009 of a coronary artery disease at the age of 39.

Lydia Delis-Schlosser, herself a Davis tri-athlete, found a friend and a mentor in Larsen. After his tragic passing, Delis-Schlosser, on the brink of competition in Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, decided to raise $25,000 on behalf of the Larsen Plaza Memorial.

“At that time my son was starting school at Davis High School,” said Delis-Schlosser. “I wanted to see if I could raise funds for the stadium and at the same time honor Steve. And I couldn’t think of any better way than to build a Memorial Plaza at the entrance of the newly renovated DHS stadium.”

In conjunction with DHS Blue and White foundation, a group of dedicated alumni and Davis citizens who are highly involved in the modernization of Davis High School Stadium at Halden Field, as well as Davis Bicycles!, Delis-Schlosser started planning the promenade.

Once the project was underway it was evident to Delis-Schlosser that the Memorial Plaza needed artwork that expresses the significance of the newly constructed plaza. She approached the Civic Arts Commission who in turn sent out a request for proposals, in search of artists who would design and fabricate the artwork.

“We are looking for the best submission,” said Carrie Dyer, Community Services Supervisor. “It doesn’t matter whether it is a mural or a painting. We are looking to make a great community gathering place that a piece of public art will greatly enhance. “

A panel made up of Civic Arts Commissioners, an artist, the Larsen Plaza Coordinator, a representative of the Blue and White Foundation, a staff member of the Davis Joint Unified School District, community members and city staff will advise on final functional parameters and oversee the selection process. A $10,000 budget is given to artists, although more may be awarded if the project has exceptional character.

“The vision of the project is to create a community base that not only honors Steve Larsen but also represents the collaboration of the whole community,” Delis-Schlosser said. “This might be the first time that the city has approved an art piece placed on a School District Site. It’s in the spirit of community and the kids. It’s important to find a creative approach to this unique space.”

The dramatically visible gathering point at the entrance of a much-used outdoor sporting complex will be augmented by 120 state-of-the-art bicycle racks which aim to encourage bicycle transportation to and from events.

Other plans include a prominent plaza area with bold dramatic banner poles to create a welcoming gathering area for community groups as well as an environmentally conscious landscaping system.

Larsen is fondly remembered by friends, colleagues and fellow athletes. Rememberstevelarsen.com is filled with memories and photos from his life.

“We were so shocked and saddened to hear of Steve’s passing and send our deepest regrets to [his wife] Carrie and [mother] Connie. I have so many fond memories of Steve, from the Davis Nutcracker to his junior cycling days on the Reebok Junior team,” Jocelyn English Peers wrote on Larson’s memorial website. “I don’t think cycling will be the same for me. Our thoughts are with his family. He was an inspiration.”

For more information and to submit proposals, go to cityofdavis.org.

ANASTASIA ZHURAVLEVA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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