Artists and local leaders will gather in downtown Santa Rosa at 5:30 p.m.  today (Tuesday, Aug. 25) to honor Sonoma County artist Daniel Oberti, who died of cancer at age 64 last May.

A memorial bench, decorated with a portrait of Oberti at work, will be dedicated to the artist at Gateway Park, near the entrance to the Prince Memorial Greenway on Santa Rosa Avenue.

The bench is near Oberti’s best-known local sculpture, titled “Guardian of the Creek” but popularly known as the “The Fish.”

The 13-foot-tall, mosaic-covered statue of a rainbow trout was designed by Mario Uribe and created by Oberti and students in Santa Rosa’s Artstart program for artists in training.

Two Artstart apprentices worked with artist Mary Vaughan on the Oberti memorial bench, advised by Oberti’s neice, Dolly, and his friend and fellow artist Joel Bennett, Uribe said.

“We wanted to do something to commemorate Daniel’s involvement in the city and public art,” said Charles Evans, chairman of Santa Rosa’s Art in Public Places committee.

During his long career here, Oberti also created two prominently placed concrete-and-brass sculptures:  “Three Spheres,” at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel on the Prince Memorial Greenway, and “Shadow Catcher, ” at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.

His outdoor artworks also can be seen in Healdsburg, Penngrove, Rohnert Park and Mendocino.

Oberti’s international work included his “Venus” sphere for the world’s largest scale model of the solar system, in Stockholm, Sweden, and sculptures in Onsala, Sweden, and Palermo, Italy.

Oberti was born Feb. 26, 1945, in San Francisco, where his father was a partner in Homestead Ravioli, a wholesale food business.

Oberti moved to Sonoma County in 1978, and began his career as a ceramic artist, later moving on to large outdoor sculptures.

(The Daniel Oberti photo above was taken by Santa Rosa photographer and art teacher Kathleen McCallum.)

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