City of Mill Valley officials and members of the Arts Commission gathered this week outside the Mill Valley Community Center to toast an art project that was four years in the making.
Led by Mayor John McCauley, the group dedicated “Halley’s Comet,” an outdoor art piece that wss installed on March 18 outside the Community Center – exactly 40 years early from its predicted next perihelion on July 28, 2061. The bright red modern sculpture was made by world-famous local sculptor Aristides Dimetrios and “is the first scultpture purchased as part of the City’s Public Art program, so it is incredibly special to us,” Mill Valley Arts & Recreation Director Sean McGrew said at the event.
Demetrious, 89, is a renowned sculptor with large installations all over the world, and locally at locations such as Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He has won numerous prizes and competitions and his artworks are sought out by investors and art lovers throughout the world. He became fascinated with the impending arrival of Halley’s Comet visiting in 1986, making this sculpture in his San Francisco studio as his tribute to the visitation which occurs only every 75-76 years.
“I would love to see kids coming down here with their notepads and drawing sketches of Halley’s Comet and taking that and applying it to their science and math (studies),” Arts Commission Chair Coleen Burne said. “We’ re really lucky to have this here in our community.”
City officials thanked a number of individuals and organiations to donating to the sculpture acquisition, including the Outdoor Art Club and the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Enjoy Mill Valley Fund.
The City’s public art program over the years has spanned bike wheel-centric pieces and gorgeous ArtBoxes to all manner of benches, both big wave and asymmetric. The footprint of the City of Mill Valley’s public art program has been expanding steadily in recent years, particularly on the heels of the “Knitting Us Together” project and the Black Lives Matter-styled utility box in 2020.