City of Sacramento and Sacramento Kings Announce Historic $3 Million Donation to Secure World-Renowned Sculpture for the ESC Plaza

Sacramento, Calif. – Today, the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings announced $3 million in donations to acquire an original sculpture by world-renowned artist Jeff Koons. The sculpture would be showcased within the Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC) plaza and would mark the first artwork by Koons purchased by a municipality for permanent display. 

In May 2014, the city and the Kings announced that $5.5 million of the ESC construction budget would be invested in the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission’s (SMAC) “Art in Public Places” program, representing the largest commitment in City history. A nine-member panel of prominent artists, curators and community leaders were appointed to recommend the acquisition, exhibition and maintenance of the artwork, including artist selection and artwork design approval. The Sacramento City Council will consider whether to approve the proposal’s contract terms at the March 10 meeting.

The panel selected, and SMAC approved, a sculpture from the Coloring Book collection, a towering design of stainless steel. Coloring Book is a quintessential element from the artist's Celebration series. The sculpture is intended to capture a child's ecstatic enjoyment of the world. 

Through an arrangement with Gagosian Gallery, Inc., the proposed sculpture would be acquired and installed for $8 million. Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé, Envision Pharmaceutical Holdings, Inc. Founder Kevin Nagle and Buzz Oates Group of Companies Chairman Phil Oates would gift $3 million towards the purchase cost. The remaining cost would come from the initial $5.5 million contribution to the Art in Public Places program. 

“Part of the panel’s mission was to secure a large, iconic work of art to uniquely identify the ESC,” said SMAC Director Shelly Willis. “I want to thank the donors for helping make that goal a reality. Public art is an essential component of building great cities, and the panel’s proposed sculpture reflects Sacramento’s vision and optimism.”

“Jeff Koons is perhaps the biggest art star in the world today,” said Crocker Art Museum Director and CEO Lial Jones. “His work is featured in collections of major museums around the world. It is significant that the City of Sacramento and the Kings are purchasing his sculpture for permanent exhibition in the public realm.”

“With all of the excitement around the new arena, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to have my work prominently displayed in Sacramento,” said Koons. “Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in Sacramento, from discovering the downtown area to visiting the train museum for inspiration. To have Coloring Book interact with the vibrancy of the city and its citizens is going to be fantastic.”  

The panel also announced a $1.5 million investment to commission regional art for the ESC. Sacramento philanthropist and artist Marcy Friedman will gift $1 million, and $500,000 will come from the initial $5.5 million contribution to the Art in Public Places program.

“The Sacramento region has long been an incubator for artists who have earned both national and international prominence,” said Friedman. “Ensuring that the ESC reflects the voice of the regional art community will guarantee, through artistic expression, the unique character of Sacramento.”

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JEFF KOONS: Jeff Koons (http://www.jeffkoons.com) is considered one of the most important and influential artists of the postwar era. Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Koons’ work has been shown in major galleries and institutions throughout the world. His Celebration series was the subject of exhibitions on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Château de Versailles opened its doors to a living artist for the first time with Jeff Koons: Versailles, where a selection of his works was presented within the Grand Apartments. The Whitney Museum of American Art presented the most comprehensive survey of Koons’ career to date, Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (through Oct. 19, 2014), which will also travel to the Pompidou Centre Paris in November, and to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in June 2015. Koons has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his cultural achievements. Notably, Koons received the Governor’s Awards for the Arts “Distinguished Arts Award” from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; President Jacques Chirac promoted Koons to Officier de la Legion d’Honneur; and most recently, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored Koons with the State Department’s Medal of the Arts for his outstanding commitment to the Art in Embassies Program and international cultural exchange. Koons has been a board member of The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) since 2002, and co-founded the Koons Family International Law and Policy Institute with ICMEC; for the purpose of combating global issues of child abduction and exploitation and to protect the world’s children. Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955. He studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and he received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1976. Koons lives and works in New York City. 

SACRAMENTO METRO PUBLIC ARTS COMMISSION: The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (http://www.sacmetroarts.org) was established in 1977 by a City Ordinance and a County Ordinance. The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) is a public agency devoted to supporting, promoting and advancing the arts in the region. Funded by the Sacramento City and County, SMAC provides funding to local artists and arts groups; promotes the arts through marketing, outreach and education initiatives; provides resources to support and increase regional arts education activities; and serves as a community partner and resource. The agency is guided by 11 Commissioners, five appointed by the Sacramento City Council, five appointed by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, and one appointed based on the recommendations of the existing Commission members.