Almanac

News - March 16, 2011

Kids perennially at play in Town Center

by Dave Boyce

For the foreseeable future, there will be two girls playing in the redwood grove near the playground at Portola Valley Town Center. Day and night, these kids will be there. They will not grow old, though they may acquire shiny places where real kids touch them.

The two life-size bronze statues, known as "Joyous Blessings," are meant to "warm the (Town) Center up a little bit and add a little culture for the kids," said sculptor and Portola Valley resident Sherry Wolfenbarger Cagan in a phone interview.

"It's been really sweet because the little kids go up to them and they're so enamored," Ms. Cagan said.

The work honors the plentiful open space in town. "I just love the fact that our children here in Portola Valley can go and play just about anywhere," Ms. Cagan said. "There's more open space here than any place I've ever been."

Ms. Cagan, who is retired, said she has worked mostly on commission. The bronze "Horse in Motion" at the Stanford Red Barn is her work and based on a series of photos taken in 1877 by Eadweard Muybridge at the behest of then Gov. Leland Stanford to settle the question of whether horses had moments of being airborne while running.

Ms. Cagan has a studio and sculpture garden at her Alamos Road home, which she shares with her husband Laird and their children. The couple were major donors to the campaign to build the new Town Center, having given $1.4 million in stock in 2008, campaign spokeswoman SallyAnn Reiss said at the time.

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