August 30, 2022 – Florence’s historic Old Town will look a little different in the coming months as Art Exposed’s outdoor gallery rotates this fall. Florence’s Public Arts Committee (PAC) voted on its recommendations for the next biennial cycle on Monday, August 29. Installation of the new parts will begin in the fall of 2022.
The Art Exposed project was developed by PAC in 2015 and works to “integrate art into the everyday life of our community” by displaying artworks 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 at the Siuslaw River Interpretive Center.
Along with the five current locations, three new spots have been added to the gallery for the 2022 cycle: at Veterans Memorial Park, inside Gazebo Park and the lawn at the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce.
The PAC meeting began with a presentation by the Art Exposed subcommittee of its recommendations for the top three artworks for each site and ended with the committee voting on a final decision.
Art selected by the PAC included the following, although the final selection may vary due to availability:
- “Pier 56” by Rodger Squirrel for Veterans Memorial Park. The piece is a wire frame column with foil shapes that resemble barnacles stuck to a scaffolding. For this new location, the PAC wanted to prioritize any submissions from those with a military background or art that was “for the military,” said PAC Vice Chair Jo Beaudreau, but no submissions for this cycle fit that description.
- ‘Glam-y Salmon’, a salmon with mosaic blue, green and yellow scales, by Mark Brody will replace the current ‘Sitting Wave Pt’. II” by Jesse Swickard near the west end of the Roasters River Yard. The bench will be moved to Exploding Whale Park after the rotation, according to Chairwoman Maggie Bagon.
- In the Rain Garden, Pluma Scultura by Kirk Seese was recommended to replace the blue tips. The 10-meter-long sculpture made of stainless steel and UV paint resembles a stained glass feather.
During public comment, one person in the audience noted, “I also like that the feather seems to be somewhat connected to our indigenous culture.”
- “Fossil III” by Lin McJunkin is set to replace the current sculpture of two ravens at the east end of the Siuslaw River Interpretive Center. The steel honeycomb pattern is interlaced with “aquamarine and spring green” glass tiles.
- “Loki – Sockeye Salmon” by Jud Turner was voted to replace the elk sculpture in the Park Plaza Gazebo. The piece is a five-meter-long shiny steel salmon made from recycled automobile and motorcycle chrome. Turner is from Oregon and currently works in a studio in Eugene.
“It has been very popular with collectors, gallery goers and the general public,” said Christine Santiago.
- Nearby in the new location, the “secret garden” inside Gazebo Park, Mark Brody’s Heart in the Garden was a leading 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’s completely open and the sun was shining. I thought, ‘Oh, the heart would be great.’
- Replacing the geometric heart in Maple Street Park, the PAC voted for Kirk Seeese’s “Icosahedron,” an interactive piece that can rotate. The colorful 20-sided form sits on a black steel frame.
- For the latest artwork outside the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, Lucy Ruth Wright Rivers’ White Spiral of “Goddess” was suggested. The artist constructs her pieces using materials that cannot be recycled, and then encases the sculpture in concrete and decorates it with mosaic tiles.
All final pieces of art will be for sale while on display in the outdoor gallery, with the City of Florence receiving a 30% commission from each one sold.
The four pieces currently on display are also for sale, for those who will miss seeing every piece of art in the outdoor gallery.
Robert Killen of RAIN (Regional Innovation Accelerator Network) said: “I would challenge those who think of the arts, and many in the arts who think of themselves, as an afterthought – the arts do not decorate a community. The arts communicate the character of your community.”
For more information about Art Exposed’s outdoor gallery, or the pieces 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 includes pieces around Historic Old Town, including “Low Pole Open Heart (Ride)” by ML Duffy at Maple and Bay streets.