Garden Grove

Art bringing “zest” to the city


GEORGE BRIETIGAM, Garden Grove City Councilmember for District 1, with a “preview” of the “Strawberry Zest” sculpture (OC Tribune photo).

By Jim Tortolano

Do you have “zest”? Not the hand soap but the dictionary definition of “an enjoyably excitable quality.”

West Garden Grove will have a visible symbol of that if Garden Grove City Councilman (District 1) George Brietigam and sculptor Jennifer Stewart, proprietor of Azteca Mexican Restaurant can bring their vision to reality.

What they’re planning is to create piece of public art – six feet tall – in the West Grove area that will serve as a focal point for the community as well as celebrate the city and county’s heritage.

It’s a strawberry emerging from the peel of an orange, symbolizing the agricultural heritage of the area, when Orange County really was “orange” county and when Garden Grove’s leading crop was the strawberry.

“It started before I got elected,” recalls Brietigam. “I talked with [then-councilmember] Kris Beard about a rebranding effort to try to get some new businesses to come to West Garden Grove.”

Among the early efforts that paid off were to get a freeway sign labeled “West Garden Grove” near where the Garden Grove (22) and San Diego (405) freeways converge at Valley View Street. “I kind of spearheaded that effort,” he said.

There’s more to the campaign, but the latest is the creation of what’s to be called “Garden Grove Strawberry Zest.”

After he was elected to the West Grove seat on the council, he met with Stewart. “I told her my ideas and we kind of went back and forth over the possibilities of a public art piece. I didn’t want it to just represent West Garden Grove. I wanted it to be inclusive of the whole city.”

Garden Grove Community Foundation has agreed to co-sponsor the project.

When the money is raised and the work created, Brietigam wants to see it installed in front of the fire station – now operated by the Orange County Fire Authority – on Valley View Street.

The total amount that he wants to raise is $150,000. The piece itself will cost $100,000 and the balance is for future maintenance as the brass patina will require periodic “touching up.” 

“I want to have a fund in place,” said Brietigam, “Long after I’m gone I want it still to be a beautiful piece of art.”

Interested in donating to “Zest?” You can make checks payable to Garden Grove Community Foundation, with “Garden Grove Strawberry Zest”on the memo/notes line. Mail the check to Garden Grove Community Foundation. PO Box 3070, Garden Grove, CA 92842. It’s tax-deductible.

There are three levels of sponsorship for major donors: Diamond ($5,000), Gold ($1,000) and Silver ($500) who will have their names engraved on a plaque or brick at the display site.

Leave a Reply