Anita May Baldwin Statue at Le Meridien Hotel Takes Form
Anita May Baldwin is coming back to Arcadia. The new Le Méridien Hotel has commissioned a statue honoring Arcadia’s most famous female pioneer. Anita is the daughter of the City's founder, Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin and for the past year, the developer of the Le Méridien Hotel has been working with the Arcadia Historical Society, the Baldwin family, and the City of Arcadia on the design of the statue and fundraising. Famed artist Alfred Paredes, who created the Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin statue on the corner of Huntington Drive and Holly Avenue, has been commissioned with sculpting his daughter Anita, where she will be featured on the opposite end of the Huntington Drive islands’ hotel property.
“The City of Arcadia is very excited that this statue is finally coming to life,” said Mayor Roger Chandler. “The addition of Anita to the hotel property will add immense historical value to the community as well as being a beautiful addition to the Downtown. I want to thank the developer, the Arcadia Historical Society, Council Member April Verlato, Margaux Viera, and all those who collaborated, supported, and donated to this effort.”
The 4.5 star Le Méridien Hotel features 233 rooms and suites, a restaurant, bar, grand ballroom, and a beautiful courtyard. The addition of a public art space was part of a negotiated agreement between the developer and the City. “We chose Arcadia as the site for this development because of the natural beauty, history, and the local amenities nearby. Adding a space for public art is part of our commitment to the Arcadia community and we are honored to memorialize Anita Baldwin on our property,” said Jonathan Tseng, Construction Manager of SAICP and Château Group.
The Anita statue is being sculpted by local artist and southern California native, Alfred Paredes. “I am once again honored to be given the privilege and challenge of continuing the Baldwin family legacy through the art of public monuments,” said Mr. Paredes. “Anita Baldwin was a woman of great character with a generous and charitable spirit. Capturing that in a single image or sculpture is the artist’s challenge. My sincerest hope is that I am creating a work of lasting beauty that the Baldwin family, the City of Arcadia, and all who visit the monument can be proud of.”
The fundraising for this project was spearheaded by the Arcadia Historical Society in partnership with the Baldwin family, and began in earnest in March 2020. “We have secured all of the funding necessary to commission the artwork and are very excited to be bringing Anita back to Arcadia. I want to particularly thank Jeff Lee and the Dextra Baldwin McGonagle Foundation for their generous contributions,” said Jim Considine, President of the Arcadia Historical Society. “The Society is always looking for opportunities to honor the rich history of Arcadian’s who came before us that helped shape our beloved community. Anita really fits the mold,” he added.
Margaux Viera, the great-great-great granddaughter of Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin, championed the idea of honoring Anita. “On behalf of the Baldwin family, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Arcadia City Council, the Arcadia Historical Society, and the Le Méridien Hotel for this incredible opportunity to pay homage to my great-great grandmother, Anita May Baldwin,” said Ms. Viera. “This project, like the Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin statue project, means so much to me and my family. The magnificent statue of Anita will showcase a strong woman who was ahead of her time. After her father's death, Anita strapped on her father's boots and never hesitated to take the reins of what he had spent his entire life building. I am proud to call Anita May Baldwin my great-great grandmother, and I am truly proud to be a part of this historic project.”
The Le Méridien Hotel is scheduled to open in Spring 2021. The unveiling of the Anita Baldwin Statue is scheduled for Fall 2021. To follow the sculptures progression, follow Alfred Paredes on Instagram at @apsculpturestudio.