Reub's journey

10 June 2010

Public art

All photos shot in Corvallis, Oregon

Raven Brings the Salmon, Painting by Audrey May Hatfield, 1998
Oregon State University, Corvallis

Oregon state law mandates that 1% of the direct construction funds of new or remodeled state buildings be set aside for the acquisition of art work. That's why there is quite a bit of public art here, and one reason I love living in Oregon.

In Corvallis the best place to see the outcome of this law is at OSU, because every building built or renovated since 1975 must have publicly-owned art in it. I am a public school art teacher, so I really really like this.

On Tuesday I rushed out of work to go to campus; I wanted to visit at least one OSU building, plus go downtown. I went to the Forestry building, which I have visited before because John works there. But John is in Slovenia (!) right now, so I wandered around by myself for awhile, and ended up in the Forest Engineering office where I greeted a secretary who had one arm in a sling--and every reason to be annoyed with my appearance exactly at her quitting time. I told her I was taking pics of the Oregon One Percent for Art pieces...and she lit up like a Christmas tree. She was elated that I took a photo of the world map on her wall, each country with its own kind of wood. How cool is that? The wood, her pride?

The secretary wanted to make sure that I saw the WPA murals, down the hall, around the corner, so she got up and led me there.

These are huge wooden inlaid murals, done in the 1930's to give work to artists. They were taken from the old forestry building, restored, and placed in a specially designed foyer in the new building.

She turned on the lights so that I could take these pictures.

I loved every second of this short tour. She said I should go upstairs for more.

So I did.

Linen Tapestry, Judith Poxson Fawkes, 1999

Here, a passing woman stopped in her tracks, " Don't you just LOVE this?" she said, "It's the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall...can you see them, the rainbow, the water, the lightening, the leaves? " She told me the piece was made so that it could be hung from any of its four sides; I liked this fact, so I asked if she had ever seen it turned; did someone occasionally change it? She laughed, "No, they don't change it"; I'd hoped she would say yes. I guess she must be right though, because she looks at it every day of her working life.

Lightening, in linen

A few more shots from the Forestry building:

Creation, Acrylic and mixed media, Audrey May Hatfield, 1999

Paper and Forest Duff, Steven Siegel, 1999

A detail

A few blocks away is Reser Stadium. There is a giant sculpture of a football:

A detail

Not done yet! There is the rest of Corvallis, alive with public art:

At the library

The front of the Arts Center

The back of the Arts Center

The fire station

A detail

Park bench

Ballerina in the park

Kind of creepy statue...

...which is also funny.

"May Peace Prevail On Earth" in 8 languages

Weather vane with herons

Water sculptures at every intersection

Artist: Peter Helzer
River otters on the waterfront

Woman and child with salmon, on the river front

A detail

Another detail

Cassie, Sue McNiel Jacous, 2003
This bronze statue of the artist's dog is on a downtown street corner; it's so expressive and I guess it's my favorite.


  1. We just sniffed our was over from The Portuguese Water Blog celebrating their red bandanna day. Not only do you look lovely in red, we think that you have a furry cool bloggy, too.

  2. Woof! Woof! Very Nice. Just ME, Sugar saying hello n Happy Bandana Day! Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  3. Wow indeed your place has plenty of art to see. Love your shots and thanks for sharing!

    Public Art

  4. Love those wooden inlaid mural and linen art piece, simply an awesome piece of art!

  5. Your wooden and linen art is very special. I hope the wood is treated against wood.

    Hi Kerry, thanks for telling me about the ad ware. Next time you see it, please see who they are. I can't see them from here.

  6. Setting aside 1% of construction funds for art really paid off! Amazing that such a wonderful idea actually came from elected officials. Your shoot was one eye-popper after another. I can't begin to pick favorites. Thanks for the tour!

  7. I couldn't begin to pick a favourite either. Such a cornucopia of riches, and what a beautiful job of presenting these to us.

  8. Way back at the beginning, I was silently saying oh, this is the best one for sure. By the time I reached the end, I was totally overwhelmed with all the best ones I saw! Great shoot-out post. I'm in love with the OR law and its outcome.

  9. How fortunate for the public to have the funds and facilities for all the amazing art. Everyone a spectacular example of talent and tribute. Great Shootout and photography!

  10. I just KNEW you would have a wonderful art post.

  11. What an amazing public policy! It's actually a little astounding in this day and age - personally, I'm partial to the otters.

  12. I remember those WPA murals of inlaid wood - so cool. And I really like the duff to paper piece. Where's the cob art? Corvallis is so lovely. You could do many more posts on this topic. Missing you know who. Almost done with the quarter here. How's your italian coming?

  13. Fantastic! How lucky you are to live in such an inspired place!!!

  14. Of course the dog is your fav! I liked the dalmation though - very cute and whimsical. You are very fortunate to have art as a priority in your city!

  15. how wonderful to have so much art displayed in your town!! every where you turn there is public art. I like the wood sculptured world and countries.

  16. Another complete beautiful post of public art. Thanks for the effort and sharing. it amazed me so much.

  17. Wow! What an amazing collection of photos. I love the linen art!


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