Craig Cree Stone - Image Emergence: Promenade of Clouds


In the summer of 2007, The Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, with assistance from the Arts Council for Long Beach, began planning the Public Art components of the Promenade Redevelopment Project. These public art works would be funded by private developers through the city's Percent for Art Program, which requires them to spend 1% of total development costs on Public Art to provide the community with enjoyable public spaces.

The Arts Council for Long Beach invited proposals from Long Beach artists for site-specific public artworks on the Promenade. The requested themes for the South block were flight and the future. The artist presented his proposal to a committee composed of representatives of the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, plus art and design professionals with expertise in the creation of public artworks. Proposals were judged on the artist’s experience in creating work designed to engage all kinds of people with a multi-layered experience, and the ability to collaborate with landscape architects, other Project designers and artists.

Special importance was placed on how well the ideas for this specific site reflected a meaningful consideration of artistic themes, innovative media, a well thought out use of durable materials and integration into the Promenade development planning.

Craig Cree Stone was selected for the South block, based on his professional work on several local Public Art projects and the presentation of his concepts for the project. For over three years, the artist worked with the landscape architect, contractors, fabricators and engineers to coordinate the production of the artwork with the overall Redevelopment plan.

Panel Model

Research was done to understand how the shadow casting panels would work by making a sample with drilled holes in wood. Models were built, and calculations of the position of the sun were made to plan how the cast shadows would be arranged within the site.

Shadow Planning

Dozens of image concepts and rendering styles were researched with graphic designer Tim Drewitt to choose the final images for the stained shadows and steel panels that would best connect the themes of the piece. The artist's goal was to push the level of detail possible with his proprietary staining method. And images for the steel panel had to be chosen based on the viability of executing the design while maintaining the structural strength of the sculpture.

Image research

Working with landscape architect Jon Cicchetti and the artist for the middle Promenade block Carl Cheng, several options for the layout and paving of the artwork site were produced. Several plan revisions were necessary to respond to the evolution of the landscape design and requirements of the Redevelopment Agency and City Planners. Regular presentations were made to coordinate with and meet approvals from all agencies.


Research was done to find an engineer with specific expertise for structures and fabrication relevant to the sculptures. Y.J. Inc. in Valencia had the expertise in large signage and similar structures and executed the drawings and specifications for the sculptures and underground footings with great efficiently.

One of the biggest challenges was to find a steel fabricator that could make the sculptures within budget and without compromise of design concepts. While the extreme complexity of the designs to be cut into the panels was a challenge, the complex bend of the support poles proved to be the most difficult component. Many fabricators simply said it couldn't be done. After several months of research and estimates from many companies, fabrication overseer Tim Drewitt found Crunch Metals in nearby Huntington Beach. The sculptures could be fabricated as designed, with the addition of some improvements, such as the double-pole design and the curved pieces that loop around the tops of the cloud panels. A 1/3 scale model was designed and produced to fine-tune the fabrication process.

Waterjet cutting, which uses a high pressure stream of water with a suspension of fine abrasive particles provides a much cleaner more detailed cut than plasma or laser cutting.

Graphic designer Tim Drewitt began photographic and online edited video documentation of the production process.


Artist Craig Cree Stone completed several samples of concrete to illustrate the staining process, level of detail and his concept for the composite eroded edge of the concrete pad for the Art Plaza.

Concrete samples

Meanwhile the Adobe Illustrator files for the 5 cloud panel images were being completed. With close direction from the artist the images were detailed, fine tuned and thoroughly checked to make sure the designs could be cut into the 1/4" stainless steel within the structural tolerances of the cutting process. The complexity of the designs required up to one day to translate for the CAD waterjet cutter software and the cutting itself took over 2 days for the largest design. The fabricator then put a base finish on the sculptures to be detailed later by the artist.

Solar Sail design

Swan design

Bird Flock design

Eclipse design

In July 2010, the artist presented the 1/3 scale model and plans to the community at the Dedication Ceremony for the Park and Carl Cheng's Public Art on the middle block of the Promenade.


Park dedication video

In January 2011 the artist was on site to oversee the pouring of the concrete for the sculpture bases by Valley Crest, the concrete contractor. Templates for the pole locations had been made by the fabricator to insure the poles would line up exactly with the bases.

Crunch Metals continued work on the rolling of the cloud panels and the matching bends to the poles, which was the most difficult and time consuming part of the process. The final sculptures began to be assembled and the grind finishes completed by the artist.


In February 2011, the concrete pad for the Art Plaza was poured and the artist supervised and participated in seeding the edges with composite material to create the eroded edge concept. After the concrete was dried the grid lines were cut into the Plaza by Valley Crest workers. Exact measurments were provided by the graphic designer to create a perspective and global distortion that reinforces the forced perspective concept of the sizes and placement of the sculptures.


The landscaping, additional concrete work and site enhancements were then completed by the contractors.

On July 25, 2011, the completed sculptures were transported to the site, installed and bolted to the foundations. Sculpting the concrete mounds for the bases of the support poles was the final element of the sculpture installation. The mounds were designed to enhance the illusion that the poles are being pulled up out of the ground as the clouds float upward.


At the beginning of August the first stained image was created on site by the artist and a crew of artists and students. Based on the exact reaction between the acid based stain and the particular concrete selected for the project, the remaining designs were revised to produce the best possible results, down to 1/32 of an inch. The final staining was completed on August 26, 2011.