Here’s how this week’s arts and culture piece begins:
Artist Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski’s family lost their Pasadena home to fire when she was 17. “I was frozen. I don’t know how much time went by. We just watched as the roof fell in, and one by one, every room burned.”
Ever since, she’s had a special heart for firefighters. So perhaps it was only fitting that she was chosen by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture (formerly the LA County Arts Commission) to design the fused glass panels for the newly built Santa Clarita Fire Station 104.
“The county’s awarding of public art projects is really an outreach to the community, which I think is the most beautiful thing in the world. They provide arts education programs, fund teachers and individual artists, work with the incarcerated, give apprenticeship grants, and much more. They invite people like me who have never done a public project before.”
From the beginning, she had to consider how she needed to design the panels so they’d look well in glass. Judson Studios, based in Highland Park, is the oldest family-run stained-glass studio in America. She hired them to team up on the proposal and to fabricate the panels.
Her initial proposal focused on the landscape, the history of Santa Clarita, and the community for whom fire tends to be traumatizing.