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    A turf sculpture is being built at Albany’s Memorial Park

    art at Memorial ParkPhoto by Linjun Fan.

    Oakland artist Gina Telcocci molds her curleycue turf sculpture at the east side of Albany’s Memorial Park on Wednesday afternoon.

    Work began in late October on the  Albany’s new public art piece in Memorial Park, a turf and concrete curleycue designed to match the nearby Veterans Memorial Building and to blend into the park environment.

    The spiraling turf design was chosen by Albany’s Art Committee in spring as part of the city’s parks renovation project.

    “The spiral will look like something coming out of the earth, “said Susan Adame, co-chair of the art committee. “It will be a very organic-looking piece. “

    A 20-foot-long bench will be made of concrete as part of the sculpture and inscribed with the saying, ” Be the change you want to see in the world,” a teaching by Indian philosopher and independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. The sentence was chosen from dozens of ideas suggested by Albany residents.

    The back of the bench will be a mound of earth covered with no-mow grass. The special kind of grass doesn’t need to be trimmed and will grow lush and curly during the coming rain season.

    “I hope it feels soft and inviting to sit there, ” said Telcocci.

    The project, which costs about $24,000, is one of the three art projects Albany is building in its parks this year. A tile mural was recently finished at Terrace Park. And more art projects will come up as the city starts to impose a new fee to carry out its Art in Public Spaces Program.

    Most work on the turf sculpture is expected to finish in mid-November, according to Telcocci. But the site will remain fenced during the winter to allow the grass to grow.

    “You know I don’t want kids riding their skateboards on it yet, before the little roots have time to establish themselves, ” Telcocci said.

    (Click here to see what the sculpture will look like when it’s finished.)

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