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By Kristina Pritchett

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church’s public art project will come to life after the Dana Point Planning Commission approved the plans in a 4-1 vote.

The plans were tabled by the Commission in November after Commissioners said they didn’t believe the projects were considered “public.” Commissioner April O’Connor, who voted against the plans on Jan. 23, said she still felt the project would not benefit the city as a whole.

New development in the city is required to allocate one-half percent of the total construction costs to an on- or off-site placement of public art as a component of the development. That, or comparable funds must be made available to a public in-lieu art fund. Gloria Dei’s project is estimated to cost $6.6 million, which results in a minimum value of $33,000 for the public art component of the project.

On Jan. 23, O’Connor said she still doesn’t feel that members of the public will go onto the church’s property to see the art. She asked how Chairman Eric Nelson believed the project benefits the city.

Nelson said he believed if the members of the public did not go to see the art, it would be their choice not to do so, but it would be fully accessible and therefore a benefit.

Based upon the project’s proposal, the art will be in the form of stained glass windows, a contemplation garden, entry wall sculptures, a courtyard fountain and a bell tower, which will cost a total of $236,124.

Commissioner Dani Murphy said the pieces will draw in more individuals, including some from the various organizations that use the church.

Karen Schnell, chair of the city’s Arts and Cultural Commission, said the Commission was excited for the plans and believes the project has exceeded requirements.

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