A 15-foot steel hand stands at the center of four baseball fields that make up the Desert Diamonds Baseball Complex; the hand grips a large metal baseball and is topped with solar panels that power the LED lights that line the base of the sculpture.
Sculpture artist Luis Varela-Rico said he was seeking to impart a deeper meaning with his design, which symbolizes both picking up a baseball and metaphorically picking up the ball after dropping it in life. He is a member of Renewable Envoy, an organization whose mission is to promote and encourage the use of renewable energy in public art and infrastructure.
The sculpture, made of mild steel, was funded by the Clark County arts plan ordinance with a contract of $191,000.
Pam Stuckey, CEO and founder of Renewable Envoy, said Clark County issued a request for a proposal for a sculpture at the baseball complex a year and a half ago, and she immediately asked Varela-Rico and Michael Andrieu, solar consultant for the group, to get involved.
Varela-Rico said the best part of the project was seeing the final product, which was unveiled in a public ceremony May 1.
“These projects take years of planning, and as an artist — or as anyone — to stay committed to a project that long is hard …” he said.
Andrieu said his goal from the beginning was to find a way to get solar panels on the sculpture.
“That drove a lot of our design, too … asking where we were going to put solar panels, and not just putting them on a pole next to it but incorporating them into it,” Andrieu said.
Andrieu and Varela-Rico worked separately, then installed the sculpture together with a friend.
“I pride myself as an artist to do everything I can on a project,” Varela-Rico said. “As long as I can physically do something all the way through at good quality, I am going to do it.”