The History of the
Giant Orange Venture
fall of 2005, Kathy Allavie, chair of the Art Alliance of the
Riverside Art Museum 2006 Spring Project, called a meeting to
discuss possible spring 2006 fundraisers. After exploring many
ideas, we came up with the idea of doing a public art project,
such as the cows in Chicago, the pigs in Seattle, etc., etc. But
what to have for Riverside? After much brainstorming, we came up
with an orange – certainly not a cute, cuddly creature, but the
one thing that most people thought of when they thought of
Riverside. (Orange trees were first planted in the area in 1871,
but the real claim to fame came when two Brazilian navel orange
trees were planted. Eliza Tibbets was given the trees by someone
she knew with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The navel orange
trees loved the warm, mild climate and began to thrive here.
Nearly half of the citrus trees in California were in the
Riverside area by 1882. The city prospered because of the growth
of the citrus industry.)
the idea of having an orange was a bit difficult until we
discovered that New York City had recently done apples. After
looking at New York’s wonderful apples, we decided the orange was
definitely for us.
Obispo had recently done “trout” and, in visiting their website,
we noted that the fabricator they used was Cowpainters, a company
out of Chicago, owned and operated by women. We immediately
contacted them and began exploring the fabrication of a giant
orange. We also consulted with, and had guidebooks from, several
other cities such as Belfast, Maine and their help was
our Art Alliance members, Karen Smarr, who, although she claims
she’s uncreative, came up with our wonderful name, The Giant
Orange Artventure. It said it all – oranges, LARGE ORANGES,
and an adventure.
then developed a sponsor packet and an artist packet. We contacted
Gary Rainsbarger, a local artist, and asked him to design a logo
for our project. His orange crate label concept was perfect --
historical, artsy, and fun.
developed a potential sponsor list and began setting up
appointments with those on the list. We had no idea of how
difficult it might be to sell our $5,000 oranges, but the
community welcomed us wholeheartedly. Everyone we approached was
very excited about our project. In a very short time, we sold not
30 but 32 giant oranges.
Meanwhile, in response to our Call for artists, we received so
many wonderful designs for the giant oranges. Some sponsors
requested their favorite artist submit a design for them and some
designs were submitted in response to our Call. All designs were
juried, and we were off and running. And, what wonderful,
exciting, creative designs we have – historical, abstract, thought
provoking, whimsical – you name it – we have it.
oranges were delivered to the artists in early January and they
are now hard at work painting their oranges. In late April all
oranges will be taken to be cleared coated and back to Burgess
Moving and Storage until our June 1 Premier Party in White Park.
On June 1
all 32 oranges will be at White Park for our Giant Orange Artventure
Premier Party and a few days after that will be installed in their
public viewing location in the downtown Riverside Mile Square
area. They will be on public display until the end of September,
2006. There will be orange walks, orange lectures, and more during
the public display period.
end of September oranges will be picked up from their public
viewing location and delivered to their participating sponsor if
the sponsor intends to keep their orange. All oranges not kept by
sponsors will be transported back into storage for our October 13,
2006, public auction.
profits from the Giant Orange Artventure will benefit the
Riverside Art Museum and their programs.