Have you ever been out and about and wandered across a piece of art that made you wonder who created it or why it's there? A new website from the Oregon Arts Commission has categorized and made accessible online all 2,400 works of art acquired and commissioned by the State of Oregon since 1975.
- Teafly Peterson
- One piece of "Reflection of Stream" by Masayuki Nagase.
In 1975, Oregon become one of the first states to pass legislation that would allow for the allotment of funds for public buildings, giving 1 percent of funding toward commissioning art on public construction projects with budgets over $100,000. This allowed for art to be displayed in and on public buildings all across the state, including college campuses, criminal justice buildings, libraries and more.
The site is a virtual database to discover the artists and stories behind the work. You can also search the database for specific artists—like, say you want to plan a trip to see all of Rick Bartow's public art works. You would need to make a few trips across the state to see all 15 of those pieces. You can also search by theme or medium. I searched for "water" and "Cascades," yielding interesting results, including the latest acquisition by the state—a new installation, "Reflection of Stream," by Masayuki Nagase, right here on the OSU-Cascades campus.
The website gives a beautiful description of the new installation as well as a great background from Nagase about his inspiration and process. It even inspired me to drive over and see the new piece in person—only to discover it's not fully installed. But that's OK; the sun was out and it was a beautiful day.
We have so many ways we adventure in Oregon. Maybe this will prompt a few to start new forms of adventures—to seek out art in public places.