Art at the Capitol…

Besides being a day of “love,” February 14th is also the birthday of Oregon’s statehood…1859…and here’s the mural in the senate chamber at the Capitol picturing the horseman arriving (…at Champoeg maybe…?) with the announcement that Oregon is now a state…

and though I AM a loyal Oregonian, I wasn’t there for the birthday party.  I was there for the art.

As a result of the  legislation enacted in 1975, the Art in Public Places Program, 1% of the construction cost of a state building will be spent on acquiring art for that building.  As a result of this legislation, and the building in 1977 of the wings on the State Capitol, there is a collection of  170 pieces of Oregon art purchased between 1976 and 1978 on public view.  When the “wings” were renovated in 2008, the collection was removed and stored.  In 2010 it was decided to use the funds now available through the 1% legislation to refurbish and rehang the collection in the renovated wings.  Larry Fong, curator at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum in Eugene, was engaged to design the reinstallation.  Monday the 14th was the opening of the “new” collection with one recent addition…the handsome “Flag 2” by James Lavadour, purchased and donated by the Ford Family Foundation.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…we arrive and R greets Larry Fong,

while I have quite a conversation with the photographer Gerry Lewin…retired ace photographer of the Statesman Journal, still working independently.  I began to follow him around while he organized the shots, and here are Christine Darcy of the Oregon Arts Commission and Meaghan Atiyeh (who made the refurbishing of this collection and the publishing of the catalog happen):

Here Chris Darcy gives her opening remarks about the collection (note Mr. Lewin in the corner)

and we wait for the unveiling of the James Lavadour painting


and then speeches and clapping…and Mr. Lewin organizing the crowd

(note Mr. Lavadour in the Stetson hat)

and the crowd is large, very appreciative and filled with art-world luminaries from Salem and Portland

R & Mary Lou Zeek

Mary Lou and Sue-Del McCulloch

Sue-Del, Laura Ross Paul and Nancy Lindburg

Laura Ross Paul and Jim and Jane Hansen

a Jan Zach sculputre, looking pretty good

Rich Harcourt, Frankie Bell and Hazel Patton

…and then I notice the Lavadour painting is on the move…

and as the painting is taken into the elevator…

a wag commented (you know who you are Alex)…”Oh…A Dude Ascending the staircase”…this might be an art-world joke…?

and they commence the hanging

…oops, a little high on the left…

The correction was made, the catalog was purchased and it was time for lunch

The collection is open to the public, and there are informative labels throughout written by Portland art historian Prudence Roberts.  Better go take a look!!


  1. The mural in the Senate chamber shows the news of Oregon’s statehood arriving in Salem of all places, with the long-gone Bennett House hotel in the background. Legend has it that the family group portrayed in the foreground are Asahel Bush II with his wife and two elder children.

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