Art project locked for Oceanside Harbor Beach

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Oceanside has reached an agreement for an interactive public art project that city officials hope will provide a lasting connection with visitors and residents.

A key feature of the 10ft by 10ft steel sculpture will be its wire mesh, where people will be invited to attach padlocks to celebrate an engagement, wedding, birth or any other celebration.

The “Love Lock” sculpture will be installed on a permanent concrete foundation between the harbor and the harbor beach, near the boat launch and facilities of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The area is one of Oceanside’s most popular tourist destinations.

The total cost of $45,000 for the artwork and $10,000 for its installation will be funded by donations.

Donations of any amount will be accepted. Anyone who gives $1,000 or more will receive a personalized engraved padlock and be invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony where they can be the first to attach their padlock. Only 55 of the custom donor padlocks will be produced.

The artist will begin construction as soon as funding for the project is secured, Port Division Manager Ted Schiafone said Friday.

“Ideally we would like to see the artwork in port this summer,” he said. “We hit 15% of the (fundraising) goal just one day after it was announced.”

Personalized engraved locks will be given to donors of $1,000 or more.

(Courtesy of the City of Oceanside)

Oceanside City Council unanimously approved the project without comment Wednesday as part of a list of items on the consent schedule. The city’s Harbor and Beaches Advisory Commission gave the idea a close look at a meeting in June 2021 and voted unanimously to recommend approval.

The chance to leave a personal memento should bring people back to port year after year, Schiafone told the commission in June.

Visitors and residents will post photos to Facebook, Instagram and other social media, he said.

The sculpture will be constructed with a type of steel designed to withstand a rusty, earthy look in salty air while retaining its strength. The design will feature a large “O” with a heart resting on a wave in the middle.

It will be built by Randall Art Ranch, a Vista-based husband and wife team.

Artists Rick Randall and Jayden Sterling Randall have created a dozen metal sculptures on public display in North County, primarily at Vista and the San Diego Botanical Gardens in Encinitas. They made an interactive love padlock sculpture in 2016 for the Alley Art Festival in downtown Vista.

Similar projects have proven popular in cities around the world.

Perhaps the most famous location of the love lock is a bridge over the Seine in Paris. It made headlines in 2014 when one of the parapets gave way under the weight of around 700,000 padlocks. After that, the city removed the locks and banned the installation of more.

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