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EXPLORE CENTRAL OREGON: REDMOND'S PUBLIC ART
August 28th, 2018

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 For centuries, grand cities from around the world have adorned public spaces with masterful works of art.  While often times the inspiration was the desire to memorialize national events, or spiritual and world leaders, the impact was often far greater than ever expected.  These public art pieces became iconic symbols of great communities rich in culture. Christ the Redeemer with his outstretched hands over Sao Paulo, the Eiffel Tower graces the Paris skyline and the welcoming torch of New York City’s Statue of Liberty greets visitors from near and far.

   From Rome’s Trevi Fountain to a Diego Rivera mural in Mexico City, from Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid to the Make Way for Ducklings statues in Boston’s Public Garden, public art expresses a city’s personality to its guests and brings a sense of community to its citizens.

   Art is not for just larger cities.  The increasing importance of the arts in communities with a smaller stature is becoming equally clear. Art enhances a city’s attractiveness, improves the quality of life for its citizens, and contributes to vitality of the economy. A city’s art delivers a powerful and positive effect to the people who call it home and the people who choose to visit.  This is especially true in Redmond, Oregon.

   For a smaller city, the Redmond community has a BIG appreciation of art. And that’s why — while you may come for an exciting experience in the outdoors, time on the links, or for an event at the Expo Center or sports complexes — you won’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy Redmond’s public art. You’ll discover our city’s history and story, soak in its culture, and find beauty and inspiration.

   The Redmond Committee for Art in Public Places or RCAPP has carefully selected a diverse array of work, to delight and often times challenge the senses of its citizens and guests alike, according to the City of Redmond project coordinator, Jackie Abslag.

   Some art pieces pay homage to our wild west heritage. For example, Western Swing, captures a cowboy and rider herding a cow. Located at the northern “Y” of 5th and 6th Streets, the 12-foot bronze sculpture was created by Central Oregon native, Greg Congleton.

   Others gather inspiration from the natural wildlife you could see around Redmond. Local artist Kim Chavez depicts high desert animals in bronze. Grace, a great blue heron, graces 6th Street. Native rock chucks stand guard at Centennial Park and at Hope Playground. And Rant of Ravens greet you from the City Hall courtyard.

   Many of the pieces are constructed by well-established artists, however, the committee also seeks to encourage up-and-coming artists from the community by bringing in artists-in-residence to work with local students. One case in point is The Electrical Box art project — a cooperation between middle school students at Elton Gregory and artist David Kinker. Another example are the hand-painted tiles around the fireplace in Centennial Park — contributed by Choice Friday elementary school students and Redmond Proficiency Academy high school students. Redmond High School students designed and sculpted the tile project located in the clock tower, designed by Jerry Werner, in Centennial Park. And Constant Face of Temporary Existence, a large installation at the Yew Avenue roundabout, was a collaborative effort by Redmond area high school students and artists.

   Still, others cause conversations — even controversy.  Thoughts of Flight, by Jerry Werner, an Art Deco statue which represents Redmond’s industrial heritage portrays opposing ideas from Ecclesiastes 3 inscribed on its wind cups. The Cycle of Life, by J. Chester Armstrong, and one of the pieces on loan, Ancient Protocol, by Paul Russell, also has caused some reactions.

   But this is an important aspect of art, Abslag points out. The art pieces will remain because it’s important to get people talking, feeling, and interacting with art.

   “Art doesn’t have to be appeal to everyone,” she says.

   Other public pieces are more practical — like the 6th St. Public Art Archway, by Brent Grenfell of Dana Signs. The archway spans over the roadbed on 6th Street in the heart of downtown, and serves as a gateway monument for downtown Redmond. It was designed as part of the downtown revitalization effort to transform what was once a highway district into a city center.

   Some of the art choices reflect the citizens’ tastes. Each year, the Redmond Committee selects art from a variety of artists to display around town. The city becomes an outdoor gallery, called Art Around the Clock, for visitors and the community. At the end of each gallery season, the community votes on a People’s Choice Award and the city purchases the winning piece for its permanent collection.  

   Sirocco, by Jan Van Elk, means “desert wind” and portrays the bust of a horse with its mane blowing. It was first brought to Redmond as part of the first installment for Art Around the Clock. Keystone Heart by Linda Gilmore Hill won the People’s Choice in 2017 and is displayed on 6th St. and Antler Ave. The 2018 People’s Choice award went to ...

   The works of art you see throughout the city cover a variety of styles, from Dignity, by Redmond native Rodd Ambroson, located in front of the Redmond Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center, which is more classic in form, to Papoose, by Greg Congleton, which is constructed from salvaged metal.

   Many of the pieces celebrate everyday life. For example, the Clock Tower in Centennial Park, designed by Jerry Werner, has a time capsule beneath it. Registered in 2010, the time capsule holds many items gathered by the community, from a letter from Eberhard’s Dairy and Information on Kit Planes to a Redmond School District supply list for each grade level and a 2010 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Community involvement like this is key in promoting and appreciating the art scene in Redmond.

   Other important pieces to see are Raintree by Robert Fouse, Summer by Jennifer Lake Miller, Short Stack by James Haire, Flor Creciente by Jesse Swickard, Troika by John Goodman, the Smith Rocks mosaic by Kory Dollar, and Iris Bronze with Birds by Jerry Werner.

   People may see Redmond’s art program as just an added plus to all the other enjoyments Redmond offers. But Jackie says that the city’s public art is becoming a main draw for many.

   “Redmond’s art program is putting Redmond on the map,” she points out. “There are people who will come to our area because of the public art.”

   No matter what brings you to Redmond, be sure to enjoy these works of art which reflect the spirit of the Redmond community. For more information about Redmond art, visit the City of Redmond’s website, ask the Chamber of Commerce for maps and brochures or scan a QR code located at each art piece to get specific information that work of art.