A raptor featuring large spoon-shaped teeth is expertly captured in this metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda on display across from city hall in Cathedral City on Highway 111.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JIM POWERS
Magnificent jaws, crushing strength, and unimaginable tenacity define prehistoric creatures that roamed the Earth. Those powerful images have been captured by artist Ricardo Breceda in dinosaur sculptures brought to Cathedral City for visitors and desert residents to enjoy in an outdoor setting.
A strikingly spectacular sculptural artist, Breceda’s “Jurassic World” sits just across from Cathedral City City Hall on Highway 111 and offers observers an impressive chance to peek inside a gateway leading directly to the Mesozoic era. There are 11 dinosaurs separated into 4 different venues along with signage detailing their time on the planet more than 60 million years ago.
These intriguing sculptures are a new public art collaboration between Breceda, the city of Cathedral City, and the Museum of Ancient Wonders, founded by Alberto Acosta. The Museum of Ancient Wonders is filled to the brim with replicas of ancient artifacts, and “Jurrasic Wonders” was a perfect complement to the museum's mission to educate the public about ancient civilizations and prehistoric life using fossils and artifacts.
Breceda began sculpting at the behest of his then 6-year-old daughter, Lianna, who wanted a Tyrannosaurus rex. Despite his inexperience in art, welding and engineering, He built her that T-Rex out of sheet metal. That was 18 years ago, and now Breceda has lost count how many creatures he has made — but it’s in the hundreds.
This is not the first time his work has appeared in the Coachella Valley. Three years ago, Breceda brought 25 pieces of his artwork to the Indio Grand Marketplace featuring a mix of dinosaurs with some more modern-day sculptures like a rooster, bighorn sheep, horses, and desert tortoises. His studio is located in Aguanga just outside Temecula where hundreds of his sculptures can be found in the open area.
Acosta chats further with Palm Springs Life about “Jurassic Wonders”, which will remain in place through the rest of 2022.
What date is the installation going to be completed?
February 14. There will be 11 dinosaurs into 4 different venues, from a T. Rex to Stegosaurus to Raptors... a wide variety of dinosaurs are represented in that collection. I’m also grateful to Nancy Ross, who is a council member of Cathedral City. She brought up the idea of displaying them across from city hall. We’re using the display to bring tourism to Cathedral City.
How did you get involved with Ricardo Breceda?
I met him several years ago. He said when we were ready to do a life-sized display of dinosaurs to let him know. I was really impressed. They’re not inadequate visions of dinosaurs rather than being cold blooded, slow creatures. He has them moving fast, almost bird-like creatures. He’s brought them up to date. He’s an inspiring artist… we are very lucky to display 11 of his dinosaurs.
Have you done collaborations with the artist in the past?
This is the first. I highly respect him as an artist, he is so productive and prolific. He has created thousands of sculptures in the last 10 years.
What is the setup of the exhibit?
The way the diagram is constructed, it is meant to draw you into the parking lot so you can spend time walking around and looking at the dinosaurs. There’s ample parking on site for visitors, and enough space to have a picnic and feel like you’re in Jurassic Park. If you visit his gallery (Ricardo Breceda) in Aguanga, California, you could see 100s of them. But here, in the valley, this is the largest collection of dinosaurs.