On Wednesday Nov. 30, PLNU alum and artist Benjamin Cabral was featured at a reception in Liberty Station at the Dick Laub NTC Command Center. Cabral graduated in 2016 as a visual art major with an emphasis in drawing/painting/print-making. The reception was to celebrate Liberty Station’s holiday light sculpture commission that was put on by the Naval Training Center Foundation’s Art in Public Places Program.
According to Victoria Reed, chair of the NTC Art in Public Places Committee, the event had approximately 40 people in attendance. Councilmember Lorie Zapf spoke briefly about the importance of art to her individually and to the community before Cabral spoke to the crowd about his art creation, titled Some Faces From Around Here. Hot cocoa was offered to guests, some of which included PLNU faculty members and their family members.
Reed described the reception as “a family friendly event.”
Cabral’s piece stands out easily, particularly when lit up at night, as it is approximately 7 feet in diameter and 11 feet tall, according to Cabral. Cabral said that he wanted his outdoor sculpture to “make people smile” and have it be “something that will bring joy to people,” particularly in the holiday season.
When Cabral learned that he would be making the sculpture, he visited Liberty Station a few different times and came up with three sketches of different people that he saw over time during his visits. These people are the ones depicted in his sculpture and exemplify a variety of people, ranging from a couple with a baby to a girl in a Pokémon hoodie. Smiling facial expressions and the use of bright colors, which Cabral identified as one of his favorite aspects to his sculpture, all contribute to make Some Faces From Around Here an uplifting piece of art.
In addition to his outdoor light sculpture, located next to the ice rink, Cabral put up some new indoor art for display inside the Martha Pace Swift Gallery. Cabral stated that nine of his art pieces were shown in the gallery and that they were new creations so he would have nothing fresh to show to the public. These new pieces were inspired by the imagery from children’s nursery rooms inside churches. Cabal specifically references his art piece that depicts a child under a rainbow.
According to Reed, Cabral’s art was funded through donations made by the PLNU foundation and Councilmember Zapf.
Cabral’s outdoor piece is the second of Art in Public Places’ temporary public art displayed at Liberty Station. Reed stated she hopes the program will be able to produce six to eight new sculptures over the next year that will address the NTC Foundation, Liberty Station, and Point Loma.
Reed said she would like to “have the artists address the community as a whole in their own creative way.”
The NTC Foundation was established in 2000, and the Art in Public Places Program was started approximately one year ago by Victoria Reed, chair of the NTC Art in Public Places Committee. The draft of The NTC Foundation’s Art in Public Places Program says in their mission statement that the program “is dedicated to placing and commissioning significant and engaging visual and performance art in Liberty Station to attract visitors, create a sense of place and provide insight into the historical and cultural essence of the San Diego-Baja border region.”
According to Reed, Cabral was chosen because PLNU “has a strong sculptural department” and “respected faculty.” Because of this reputation and PLNU’s attachment at Liberty Station, Cabral was approached and his art was examined by Reed, who then showed it to the rest of the committee. Reed said they agreed that Cabral’s work would be a good choice as the next display at Liberty Station.
Cabral’s art from Some Faces From Around Here will remain on display through January 15, 2017.