A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Art project off Lyon gets enhancements

Written October 5th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

A passerby strolls past the art pr0ject on Lyon Street near Eighth on Saturday.

On this rainy Tuesday, let’s go back to last Saturday, when it was still sunny and warm and the new brick work around Albany’s public art project caught my eye as I passed by on the bike.

Each of the two pairs of metal wildflower sculptures now is surrounded at its base by a brick enclosure filled with what looks like ground-up lava rock.  The structures resemble the shape of livestock watering troughs. I imagine that bath tubs in ancient Rome might have looked kind of like that.

Here’s a view from the other side, with traffic on Lyon Street in the background:

Some heavy granite blocks were sitting there, below the caution tape, ready to support benches that were yet to be installed.

The parks department’s Francisco Ruiz Santiago built the brick structures and is creating the benches as well. “It is looking so nice and I can’t wait to see it when it is all completed,” said Kim Lyddane, Albany parks and recreation director.

Also set to be added to the site before long: a small sign telling people about the sculptures. The Albany Arts Commission has put together a design for the sign.

The project is an outgrowth of the construction in 2017 of the city’s new main fire station and police headquarters. A city ordinance says 1 percent of the cost of some new public buildings must he spent on art, and in 2018 the city council allocated 80,000 to an art project that became this one.

After a design competition, the arts commission picked the artist and the location for the sculptures, near the southern entrance to downtown off Highway 99E.

The sculptures were created by South Carolina artist Deedee Morrison and installed just before Christmas in 2020.

Will there ever be a public dedication of this work? Lyddane says the arts commission may discuss that when it meets again. (hh)

7 responses to “Art project off Lyon gets enhancements”

  1. Mary says:

    I’m so happy that Albany is investing in some art for our city. I was in Couer d’Alene this summer and they had some fantastic art throughout the downtown area, it made the area so charming.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      I have to admit you didn’t mess up the “usual” d’Alene part, but you mess up Coeur.

      As far as “charming”? It has the same problems as Albany with homelessness and homeowners being taxed out of their homes. Maybe not quite as much homelessness (it gets a lot colder during the winter) but the Californication is even worse for the homeowners.

  2. Michelle Tatum says:

    Its Beautiful. But can we work on other areas of Albany. Like maybe off I5 area. Visitors get off the exit and see how trashy it is and wanna turn around get back on freeway to next town

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Good point about I-5, though I imagine it’s as bad or worse in 90% of American cities. It’s all about cars, business “exposure,” and the Big Mistakes of:

      1 – Business entrances on busy highways.
      2 – Vast parking areas up front. Large stores, or trashy little strip malls, having their own separate parking lots.
      3 – “Free” parking. Very expensive to everyone in a time of high land cost.
      4 – The attention arms race. The biggest, ugliest sign wins. Faster and busier traffic needs bigger and uglier signs.

      That’s the evolution of American cities since 1945 — the car/suburbia age — with #1 going back to earlier days of car travel. Fixing any of it will be extraordinarily difficult.

  3. Chad Richey says:

    All the weeds on the sides of the overpass proceeding the “art” add a nice touch.

    Our tax money, that the city decided to grab without notice (by sliding an ordinance in) was used to purchase art made / designed out of state, really nice!

  4. Pat Essensa says:

    Ms. Tatum you are so right. On highway 20 and Bain street. That restaurant has been half tore up for years. Its an eye sore.

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    It’s pretty close to the area that the City Council wants to install a public restroom. Why not kill 2 birds with one stone.

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