Naked woman sculpture in San Leandro stirs mixed emotions

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The "Truth Is Beauty" sculpture, depicting a 55-foot-tall naked woman to be installed at the new San Leandro Tech Campus is stirring up controversy.

A sculpture of naked woman three-stories tall is supposed to draw tech companies to an East Bay city, but it's placement near the San Leandro BART station means everyone will see it.

"She's big and she's beautiful... and she has no clothes on," Deborah Acosta, the chief innovation officer at the City of San Leandro, said.

At 55-feet-tall and illuminated by thousands of LED lights, you can't miss the sculpture "Truth Is Beauty." Built by Bay Area artist Marco Cochrane for Burning Man 2011, she'll find her permanent home at San Leandro's new tech campus.

"Art is really the underlying base for anytime you're doing innovation," Acosta said.

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and this time the beholder is a private company. The city required the developer set aside 1 percent of its construction budget for public art.

"This was a very unusual step to require art in a new development and I think you're going to see it as a model going forward that we're going to require it of everybody who wants to develop," Acosta said.

But since it's on private property there was no public input on what art should be chosen.

"I think it's great! I mean, San Leandro is out in front," resident and business owner Mike Miraglia, of Miraglia Catering, said. He says he isn't offended by the sculpture's full frontal. "Whatever draws attention and brings people to San Leandro would be good."

Others say it draws the wrong kind of attention. Illustrated in a letter to the editor of the San Leandro Times, Gerry Isham writes, "Truth is beauty, but tacky is forever."

Yet city planners say they're hoping to attract people who are attracted to this art.

"Really change the image of San Leandro with millennials, tech millennials, women in technology, so these groups that can create a new sort of Mecca for start-ups and tech folks in the Bay Area," Greg Delaune, UIX Global

"Really great art inspires controversy and it's the conversation that needs to take place around this that is wonderful," Acosta said.

The sculpture will be installed sometime next summer.

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technologysculptureartpublic artschoolconstructionBARTSan Leandro
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