King City unveils first piece of public art

King City just got more beautiful after its first piece of public art was unveiled Oct. 9 in King City Community Park.

A crowd of more than two dozen gathered on a crisp fall morning as artist Mark Brody unveiled his masterpiece: Two separate walls that act as a gateway to the park are covered in colorful tiles with king and queen playing cards as the focal point along with scenes from the park, including children playing soccer, people walking dogs and Monarch butterflies flitting around milkweed.

City Council President Jaimie Fender kicked off the formalities by saying the project was a labor of love and that it achieved a goal of installing public art set by the King City Community Foundation which she co-founded.

“For many years, we have tried to find opportunities to bring art to King City,” she said. “Thanks to the tragedy of Covid, we got a grant to lift people’s spirits. We had a pile of money to spend and no artist, but Mark very quickly came up with an inspiring project. He got to the soul of our city and captured it.”

Mayor Ken Gibson added, “This was a great team effort that goes on in our city anyway. But this couldn’t have happened so quickly without Jaimie, (City Manager) Mike (Weston) and the rest of the City Council.”

Brody said that dozens of volunteers were involved in creating the art and installing it. He told the city officials, “I appreciate the trust you put in me… I added diversity to the art because King City is a diverse city. And these porcelain tiles will handle any weather and will last generations.”

Brody initially saw a call for artists and replied immediately, met with Fender and Weston, and the rest is history.

Gibson noted that “at the beginning of the year, we got a grant that we could take advantage of with a deadline to spend the money. We have a creative team, and they came up with the idea of a pony wall. 

“It has been wonderful to work with Mark. He is an outstanding artist, and it was nice to work with the community. We had two or three community events in the park to work on it.”

Weston said the federal Covid-19-relief CARES Act provided the city with $48,000 that was used to fund the project.

Fender added that Phase II of the project will include planting a milkweed garden to attract Monarch butterflies, which Brody noted are a perfect symbol for King City.