Sept. 26, 2020 — The next series of public art pieces has been added to the City of Florence’s “Art Exposed” Rotating Art Gallery. Three new art pieces are being installed in Historic Old Town Florence this week, with the addition on Friday of two more pieces that are on temporary loan from the artists, with an eye towards selling the work.
Members of Florence Public Art Committee (PAC) were on hand to participate in the unveiling.
According to PAC Vice Chair Jo Beaudreau, this next series of Art Exposed will bring a new slate of art, from different artists, with very different approaches to the creation and display of their work.
The latest series of pieces was selected from many talented entries sent in by artists across the country.
“The new installations in the in this round of ‘Art Exposed’ is very exciting for the livability of our residents, especially now during COVID. Art Exposed provides a safe, educational and creative experience for all ages,” Beaudreau said.
The new pieces installed this week include the piece “Three Blue Spires,” which was unveiled Tuesday at the Siuslaw Interpretive Center, and “Nursing Doe,” which was installed at Old Town Park, and “Ravens,” now located on the west side of the interpretive center.
Both “Ravens” and “Doe” were created by artist Steve Tyree, from Amity, Ore., who was on hand for the installation and unveiling on the rainy Friday morning.
“All of my pieces are fabricated, which means it’s made from bronze metal sheets about 1/8” thick and then hammered and welded together. This is a much different process then forging,” Tyree said. “Because of the process I use, these pieces are one of a kind. They are all different and that is what makes them special — each one is unique from start to finish.”
The continuation of Art Exposed and some of PAC’s projects was in doubt earlier this year due to funding issues and leadership problems that overshadowed the selection and placement of art. In addition, the funding for PAC was significantly reduced and the individuals involved in the selection of the art has also significantly changed.
The current members of PAC are Chairperson Harlen Springer, Beaudreau, Peggy Meyer, Christine Santiago, Patti Williams, Kathleen Wenzel, Karl Engel, Kristen Dill and Nancy Pearson, along with City Councilor Woody Woodbury and City Recorder Kelli Weese as ex-officio members.
However, PAC was able to agree on the five finalists for the next round of Art Exposed at its July 27 meeting.
Beaudreau encourages the community to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy these pieces while strolling through Old Town.
“‘The Three Blue Spires’ piece is unique in not only it’s fabrication but also in its relation to where it is displayed. The spires echo the rhythm and flow of the Siuslaw River, the flow of life and the flow of native people,” she said. “Please do take a walk through the interpretive center to enjoy this work and specially to see how the sun shines through the cobalt glass with the Siuslaw bridge in the background.”
In a Facebook post about the piece, Florence Mayor Joe Henry said, “Now here is a piece of art that I can appreciate.” He thanked both artist Gerry Newcomb and the PAC in the post.
Beaudreau also was impressed with the “Ravens” which was installed on the east side of the interpretive center.
“‘Ravens’ is a unique combination of styles, both postmodern with the steel base and the hand-fabricated bronze realistic ravens perched at the top on a branch,” she said, describing the piece. “Despite this work being metal, Tyree is able to show movement and motion. I personally enjoy this work because of the duality and contrast of postmodern structure holding a natural looking form of bronze with the framing of the pines, the nature around us. The caring interaction of the birds is also something that I find powerful within this work as well.”
The next PAC meeting is scheduled for Oct. 19 at 4 p.m.
For more information, visit ci.florence.or.us.