2010-04-01 / Front Page

Art sculpture and tramway approved for Ladyface

$700,000 top prize for best entry
By Stephanie Bertholdo bertholdo@theacorn.com

THE BIGGER THE BETTER—An artist’s rendering shows what the proposed western-themed sculpture might look like at the top of Ladyface Mountain just south of Kanan and Agoura roads. To the right is a gondola-like tramway leading to the top. Win $700,000 if you think your design can be better. THE BIGGER THE BETTER—An artist’s rendering shows what the proposed western-themed sculpture might look like at the top of Ladyface Mountain just south of Kanan and Agoura roads. To the right is a gondola-like tramway leading to the top. Win $700,000 if you think your design can be better. The Agoura Hills City Council approved a facelift for Ladyface Mountain last week. The members authorized construction of a 300-foot monument to be built on the peak and gave the go-ahead for construction of a high-speed tram—even a small bullet train—to run to the top of the famed local mountain.

The proposed massive art structure—probably a giant sculpture using some combination of stone, concrete and reinforced steel—will be created by the winner of a local art competition sponsored by the city. The artist who wins the contest will be given a $700,000 commission to complete the project.

Mayor Bill Koehler said a really big sculpture on top of the rugged 2,000-foot mountain that forms an outline of a woman’s forehead, nose, mouth and buxom chest would be seen from miles in all directions and “would put Agoura Hills on the map until the end of time.”

Local artists are encouraged to submit entries using a Wild West theme. Councilmember Dan Kuperberg says the bigger that the pile of stuff is, the better.

He thinks Ladyface Mountain is overrated anyway and needs something more dramatic at the top. A little concrete and steel would help.

“Mountains come and go,” Kuperberg said. “The day will come when natural erosion will change the face of that mountain anyway, so we might as well adorn the symbol of the city with some beautiful artwork that will stand the test of time.”

Councilmember Denis Weber, an aspiring artist, plans to enter the contest in hopes of winning the three-quarter-million dollar prize for himself.

Weber said the high speed tram will make it easier for senior citizens who can’t make the rigorous trek to the top. The fee for riding the tram is expected to be $100, but no discounts will be allowed for the elderly because they should be able to afford full price.

Councilmember Harry Schwarz said the artwork on top of the mountain will help the city move toward its ultimate goal of transforming Agoura Hills into a destination “artists’ town,” similar to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Except that Carmel is by the sea and Agoura Hills is not by the sea, one expert pointed out.

Some environmentalists are not happy with the city’s decision to destroy the natural peak and build a man-made structure on the top.

“Let Ladyface Mountain erode naturally,” said Jess Thomas of Old Agoura. “Only until such time in the future when the woman’s face is unrecognizable should the council consider such drastic measures.” But the natural erosion could take up to 3 billion years, a geology expert told The Acorn. One local hardware store offered to sell dynamite at half price to the artist who wins the competition.

Happy April Fool’s Day from the staff of The Acorn!

Return to top