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The Art and Beauty of Sailing on Display at Emery Cove Marina

Most of the art and beauty of sailing happen out of sight of the average person. It happens “out there” and away from the general public. This is one of the reasons we love it when the the beauty of sailing is brought ashore in the form of public art, available to inspire all. On a recent trip to Emeryville we discovered a newly installed sculpture alongside Emery Cove Marina.

The new sculpture by the harbor.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We reached out to harbormaster Diane Isley to find out what’s up. Diane replied with some background on the art.

Emery Cove Yacht Harbor recently renovated the entire marina, initiating a requirement for them to spend money on art. They chose to install a public sculpture. The “dockominium marina” formed an in-house architectural design committee and chose to commission a piece from artist Ilan Averbuch — Averbuch Rail Art LLC, Long Island City, New York. Diane said, “Our goals were consideration for open views, an interactive piece, maintenance friendly and natural materials. The granite is salvaged and the sails can be used as benches. [We] received a grant from EBMUD and worked through permitting along with BCDC to replace the grass with low-water plants and a decomposed-granite path. The process involved structural engineering, permitting and logistics from Long Island City, NY, to Emeryville, CA, where Ilan was on-site for hands-on installation. We hope that many can enjoy and appreciate the art.”

Artist Ilan Averbuch created the 15-foot-tall Wind and Stone out of salvaged granite, to sail by the Emery Cove shore.
© 2024 Diane isley

From artist Ilan Averbuch, “Wind and Stone activates the landscape; with water nearby on both the work’s port and starboard sides it suggests the peninsula is afloat within the Bay. The colossal weight of the stone contradicts the lightness of the form, creating a dialogue between symbols and materiality. The bow of the work points toward the Bay, acting as an entry point for the viewers’ imagination and suggesting an experiential journey. The negative space formed by the center of the sails creates two open windows onto the surrounding landscape — framing the Bay Bridge and the marina. As the view changes from different vantage points, so does the relationship between the two sails. The ever-changing perspective can be experienced both on land and on the water.”

Ilan Averbuch
Sailing on shore.
© 2024 Diane Isley

The City of Emeryville has supported public art since passing an ordinance in 1990 and forming the Art in Public Places program. Buildings costing more than $300,000 are required to spend 1% on art by either donating to the Emeryville Art in Public Places fund or installing public art on-site. The city sponsors an annual Emeryville Art Exhibition, which is now in its 38th year. The City of Emeryville covers 2.25 square miles and publishes an art-map walking guide with over 30 installations in addition to recent murals and open art studios. Sailors docking at or visiting the harbor can enjoy access to many of the public art sculptures throughout the city and along the Bay Trail.

It’s too easy for folks in our densely populated urban landscape to lose sight of the Bay and its maritime heritage. Jim DeWitt’s image on the new building on Cutting Boulevard and the art around the Port of San Diego are some of the terrific ways that waterfront communities are connecting people to the beauty that lies just offshore.

Emery Cove Marina is giving recognition to both the value of art and also to their prime waterfront location. Is there other public art hiding around our waterfront?

3 Comments

  1. Maria Keenan 3 weeks ago

    Good job, Diane!
    We had such great time living at EC on our catamaran MagnifiCat for almost two years!

  2. Tight Little Tribe 3 weeks ago

    So great to see this! We called Emery Cove Yacht Harbor home for almost 7 years, raising our daughter aboard our 37 ft. sailboat. We spent many days in this very spot and can’t wait to come back to see all the beautiful work that’s been done. What a huge accomplishment. Good job to Diane and the whole crew at ECYH! We miss our boat fam!

  3. Marc Longwood 4 days ago

    Thinking about the physics of filling sails with wind, do you see one boat or two?
    I see two and they are on a collision course. Given that, who has right of way, the larger boat on a starboard tack, or the smaller boat which is being overtaken?

    That’s the nature of art, right, to explore interpretations.

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