Public Art Committee evaluates next round of Art Exposed

Florence's rotating public art gallery, Art Exposed, currently includes pieces around Historic Old Town, including "Low-Poly Open Heart (Ride)" by M.L. Duffy at Maple and Bay streets.

Aug. 30, 2022 — Florence’s Historic Old Town will look a little different in the coming months as the Art Exposed outdoor gallery is rotated this fall. The Florence Public Arts Committee (PAC) voted on its recommendations for the next bi-annual cycle on Monday, Aug. 29. Installation of the new pieces will begin in autumn of 2022.

The Art Exposed project was developed by the PAC in 2015 and works to “integrate art into the daily life of our community” by displaying art pieces in public spaces. It currently displays works such as “Low-Poly Open Heart (Ride)” by M.L. Duffy on Maple Street and the “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 the Veterans Memorial Park, inside the Gazebo Park and the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce lawn.

PAC’s meeting began with a presentation from the Art Exposed subcommittee of its recommendations for the top three art pieces for each location and ended with the committee voting on a final decision.

The art selected by the PAC included the following, although the final selection may change due to availability:

  • “Pier 56” by Rodger Squirrel for Veterans Memorial Park. The piece is a wire frame column with sheet metal shapes that resemble barnacles stuck to a pier. For this new location, the PAC wanted to prioritize any submissions by those with a military background or art that was “for the military,” said PAC Vice Chairperson Jo Beaudreau, but no submissions for this cycle fit that description.
  • “Glam-y Salmon,” a salmon with mosaiced 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 be moving to Exploding Whale Park after the rotation, according to Chairperson Maggie Bagon.
  • In the Rain Garden, “Pluma Scultura” by Kirk Seese was recommended to replace the blue spires. The 10-foot-tall sculpture made of stainless steel and UV inks resembles a stained glass feather.

During public comments, one person from the audience noted, “I also like that the feather seems to be kind of related to our Indigenous culture.”

  • “Fossil III” by Lin McJunkin is set 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 glass tiles of “aquamarine and spring green.”
  • “Loki – Sockeye Salmon” by Jud Turner was voted to replace the sculpture of the nursing deer in the Gazebo Park Plaza. The piece is a five-foot-long, shiny steel salmon made from the recycled chrome of automobiles and motorcycles. Turner is from Oregon and currently works out of a studio in Eugene.

“He’s been very popular with collectors, gallery viewers and the general public,” said Christine Santiago.

  • Nearby in the new location, 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,” Peggy Meyer said. “I was walking by there yesterday and, in the early afternoon, it’s totally open and the sun was shining. I thought, ‘Oh, the heart would be magnificent.’”

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

All the final art pieces will be on sale while displayed 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 on sale, for those who will miss seeing each art pieces’ place in the outdoor gallery.

Robert Killen of RAIN (Regional Accelerator Innovation Network) said, “I would challenge those who think of the arts, and many within the arts thinking of themselves, as an afterthought — the arts don’t decorate a community. The arts communicate your community’s character.”

For more information about the Art Exposed 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-Poly Open Heart (Ride)" by M.L. Duffy at Maple and Bay streets.

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