A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Bright spot: Looking forward to this public art

Written November 21st, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Here’s a first look at one of the long-awaited pieces of public art the city of Albany will install at the Lyon Street entrance to downtown.

The image is one of two that City Manager Peter Troedsson sent to the city council Saturday as part of his end-of-the-week summary of city news and related developments.

There are several stories about the art project and its background on this website. The latest appeared on Sept. 27, and you can refresh your memory here.

“The fabrication work is almost complete and component pieces should be shipped on December 11,” Troedsson told council members. “The artwork may potentially be installed by Christmas.”

DeeDee Morrison, a nationally known public artist in Greenville, S.C., is building the work. A few weeks ago I asked her by email for photos of the creation, but I had not seen any until I read Troedsson’s memo to the council.

An ordinance passed in 1998 obligated the council to spend a certain percentage of the cost of the new police and fire stations on art. The Albany Art Commission selected an artist and design, and in January 2018 the council authorized $80,000 for the project the commission had chosen.

As revised since, the work consists of four steel structures meant to resemble wildflowers and featuring multi-colored LED lighting. It will be installed on state-owned land near where the downtown off-ramp from Pacific Boulevard hits Lyon Street.

It’ll be interesting to see colorful lights twinkling off the highway there, a bright spot this dark winter made even bleaker by Covid-19. (hh)

This is the second photo of the art work the council got in the manager’s memo.

15 responses to “Bright spot: Looking forward to this public art”

  1. Liz Williams says:

    Finally! Albany has needed public art for a looong time. We need to get beyond thinking Albany is a working class town.

  2. Jennifer Moody says:

    I remember writing about that! Neat to see it coming to life.

  3. Carla mundt says:

    Did I miss why we had to go out of state for an artist?

  4. CHEZZ says:

    All of our towns need a little respite, a focus away from the daily. May we embrace this opportunity here in Albany by enjoying these flowers, light, and the space around it as we move through our day.

  5. Al Nyman says:

    The only public art (and it was private) I liked were the lighted horses along the freeway. The rest is a waste of money just like the lights above 3rd street.

  6. Richard Vannice says:

    I wonder how many rear end accidents this will cause!

  7. James Engel says:

    So how to stand back and see it? Navigating a down curve to glance to your right. More distractions to driving. You will have to park blocks away to park & walk in to gaze at it. And damn, an out side (state) artist to boot! More nonsense from the City Council.

  8. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    1. The percent for art ordinance is welfare for the cultural elites. The poor and middle class majority benefit less than the few upper-middle class elitists who insist that every property taxpayer pay for these flowers.

    2. Private resources and charitable gifts should pay for this kind of art. Requiring the money come from the public trough just discourages private giving.

    3. Bureaucratic culture is not genuine culture. It was the unsubsidized writers, painters and musicians who create the best art.

    4. Repealing the percent for art ordinance will prove to Albany taxpayers that the city council is willing to eliminate wasteful spending, especially when city employees are facing layoffs due to budget mismanagement.

    Will these soon-to-be rusted flowers enhance cultural life in Albany? Surely, you jest.

    • Pat Bateman says:

      “It was the unsubsidized writers, painters and musicians who create the best art.”

      Tell that to Michelangelo.

  9. West End Gal says:

    Communities that invest in public art are to be commended. Any attempt to beautify helps to “take the edge off” these mean streets. Kudos, too, to commercial art! Oscar Hult is Albany’s own Mr. Selfridge. If you haven’t strolled or driven by his display windows, you are in for a visual treat! And my hat is off to the beautiful dignified veteran’s banners created and displayed by Albany Rotary. All are positive reflection on our community spirit, and I look forward to the joyful flowers at the base of the overpass.

  10. Kim Sass says:

    There are several public art sculptures in Albany: along Lyon Street at First Avenue; in front of St. Mary’s; in front of the 1957 hospital building on Elm Street; at the downtown library site as well as the main library. We also have bells: in front of St. Alban’s and the GAPS District office. There are probably more examples. I welcome even more art to our town, whether or not it was created by Oregonians. Thank you for this sneak peak Hasso.

  11. Holly Evans-White says:

    Because this is a done deal why not embrace the positive? So many more important issues in front of us, let go of what is done. Repeat the Serenity Prayer to aid you if your first instinct is to reject the New whenever it appears.


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