Oregon’s public collection of more than 2,400 artworks acquired and commissioned since 1975 is now featured on a website for all to view.
The State of Oregon Percent for Art Collection includes paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, mosaics, murals, textiles and both site-specific and structurally integrated art installations by over 800 artists. A number of commissioned temporary works can also be found on the site.
The artworks, installed across the state, can be found in public buildings from La Grande to Corvallis and Medford to Portland, including on campuses of higher education at University of Oregon, Portland State University, Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University, Eastern Oregon University, Western Oregon University and Oregon Institute of Technology.
The new online interface allows Oregonians or visitors to experience the state’s art collection remotely or to plan visits to view art in person. Robust search capabilities allow tailored searches—for a teacher creating class curriculum, a student doing research or a curious member of the public.
Highlights of the collection include:
- Two- and three-dimensional works by seminal Oregon artists including Louis Bunce, Sally Haley, Manuel Izquierdo, George Johanson, James Lavadour and Lucinda Parker.
- Temporary artworks, including “Information Studio” (2008) by Tahni Holt, an interactive dance installation created during a month-long residency at Portland State University. The site-specific work transformed a glass enclosed meeting room at the Smith Memorial Student Union into a stage where performers followed directions via headphones to realize Holt’s choreography.
- Integrated works like Henk Pander’s “The Road” (2006), a largescale painting of an imagined traffic accident based on the artist’s experiences riding along with various Oregon police, sheriff and fire departments. The painting was commissioned for the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.
- Memorials, such as Lead Pencil Studio’s “OSH Patient Memorial” (2014) at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, which respectfully commemorates more than 3,400 individuals who passed away in Oregon state institutions from 1913 to 1970. The memorial includes a building displaying the historical metal canisters that held the ashes of individuals not claimed by family members. Facing this, a columbarium wall holds newly created ceramic urns with the inscribed names and living dates of the remains represented within.
- Recent commissions include “Lessons from a Falling Star” (2018) by Garrick Imatani, installed at the University of Oregon. This project traces the legacy of “Tomanowas” (The Willamette Meteorite), which came to Oregon via the Missoula Floods approximately 15,000 years ago. The artist worked with the Clackamas tribe (part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde), who consider “Tomanowas” a sacred object, to 3D scan the meteorite and photograph current tribe members with a 3D printed replica in response to archival images showing the meteorite as discovered. A second aluminum replica of the meteorite is suspended in the atrium of Straub Hall in front of a mural showing water levels during the Missoula Floods.
Oregon was one of the first states in the nation to pass Percent for Art legislation, setting aside no less than 1 percent of funds for the acquisition of public-facing artwork in all state building construction projects with budgets over $100,000.
Since 1975, the Percent for Art program has placed high-quality, accessible and mostly permanent art in public places. Over 275 state construction projects have qualified for Percent for Art funds and more than 2,000 Oregonians have taken part in the selection of artwork for their state’s higher education campuses and government facilities.
The program, managed by the Oregon Arts Commission, remains dedicated to the enhancement of public environments and the improvement of the character and quality of state buildings.
Link to State of Oregon Percent for Art Collection website: http://state-of-oregon-art-collection.org/final/Portal.aspx
The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts.
The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities.
In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development.
The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at: www.oregonartscommission.org.