Siuslav News | The Public Art Committee judges the next round of Art Exposed

August 30, 2022 — Florence’s historic old town will look a little different in the coming months as the Art Exposed outdoor gallery gets a makeover this fall. The Florence Public Arts Committee (PAC) voted on its recommendations for the next biennial cycle on Monday, August 29. Installation of the new works will begin in the fall of 2022.

The Art Exposed project was developed by the PAC in 2015 and works to “integrate art into the everyday life of our community” by exhibiting works of art in public spaces. Currently showing works such as “Low-Poly Open Heart (Ride)” by ML Duffy on Maple Street and “Three Blue Spires” by Gerry Newcomb in the rain garden of the Siuslaw River Interpretive Center.

Along with the five current locations, three new locations have been added to the gallery for the 2022 cycle: at Veterans Memorial Park, Gazebo Park and the Florence Chamber of Commerce Lawn.

The PAC meeting began with the Art Exposed subcommittee presenting its recommendations for the top three artworks for each location and ended with the committee voting on the final decision.

Art selected by the PAC included the following, although the final selection is subject to change due to availability:

  • “Cay 56” by Roger Squirrel for Veterans Memorial Park. The piece is a wire-frame column with sheet metal shapes that look like seashells glued to a pier. For this new location, the PAC wanted to prioritize any submissions from people with military experience or art that was “for the military,” said PAC Vice President Joe Boudreau, but no submissions for this cycle fit that description.
  • ‘Glam-y Salmon’, a salmon with mosaic scales of blue, green and yellow, by Mark Brody will replace the current ‘Sitting Wave Pt. II” by Jesse Swickard near the west end of the River Roasters patio. The bench will move to Exploding Whale Park after the rotation, according to chairman Maggie Bagon.
  • In the Rain Garden, ‘Pluma Scultura’ by Kirk Seese was recommended to replace the blue spiers. The 10-foot tall sculpture, made of stainless steel and UV inks, resembles a stained glass feather.

During public comments, one member of the audience remarked, “I also like that the feather seems to be somehow related to our local culture.”

  • “Fossil III” by Lynn McJunkin is to replace the current sculpture of the two ravens at the east end of the Siuslaw River Interpretive Center. The steel honeycomb pattern is interspersed with ‘aquamarine and spring green’ glass tiles.
  • “Loki – Sockeye Salmon” by Jude Turner was voted to replace the suckling deer sculpture in the Gazebo Park Plaza. The piece is a five-foot-long, shiny steel salmon made from recycled chrome from cars and motorcycles. Turner is from Oregon and currently works in a studio in Eugene.

“It is very popular with collectors, gallery goers and the general public,” said Christine Santiago.

  • Nearby in the new venue, the ‘secret garden’ within Gazebo Park, Mark Brody’s Heart in the Garden was the top contender. The piece is a red mosaic heart with a pink swirl on one side and a yellow sun on the other.

“I love the heart,” said Peggy Meyer. “I was walking there yesterday and in the early afternoon it was fully open and the sun was shining. I thought, “Oh, a heart would be great.”

  • Replacing the geometric heart in Maple Street Park, the PAC voted for “Icosahedron” by Kirk Seese, an interactive piece that can rotate. The colorful 20-sided form sits in a steel black frame.
  • For the final piece of art outside the Florence Chamber of Commerce, the white spire of “The Goddess” by Lucy Ruth Wright Rivers was proposed. The artist constructs her works using materials that cannot be recycled, then covers the sculpture in concrete and decorates it with mosaic tiles.

All final artwork will be for sale while on display in the outdoor gallery, with the City of Florence receiving a 30% commission on each sold.

The four works currently on display are also on sale for those who will miss seeing each artwork’s place in the outer gallery.

Robert Killen of RAIN (Regional Innovation Acceleration Network) said: “I would challenge those who think about the arts and many in the arts who think of themselves as an afterthought — the arts don’t beautify a community. The arts convey the character of your community.”

For more information about the Art Exposed open gallery or the works currently on display, visit https://www.ci.florence.or.us/bc-pac/art-exposed-florences-rotating-outdoor-art-gallery.

Florence’s rotating public art gallery, Art Exposed, currently features works around the historic old city, including “Low-Poly Open Heart (Ride)” by ML Duffy at Maple and Bay streets.

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