Public Art: ODOT

The Oregon Department of Transportation Building (originally built about 1950) underwent a renovation all year at Capitol and Center Streets, and we went by the other day to check it out.  1% of the cost of building or renovating a state building is spent on art for that building, which has resulted in a rich public collection owned by the State of Oregon…of particular benefit to those of us art lovers in Salem, where the majority of State buildings are located.  R was on the 1% jury for the ODOT building so I got to watch it materialize.

While under construction the new entrance plaza looked like this…

and from the inside looking toward the wood/doors, like this…

The plaza outside the doors was designed as a site for sculpture as well as a site for lunch…note the nice stone table…

By the time we went back last week most of the sculpture was in place and looks excellent…here Lee Kelly…

Mel Katz…

and check the wonderful small Malia Jensen bird installed perched on the stone table…

The one piece not yet on site is a James Lavador resin piece that will go here…

Inside are two paintings, hung on some rather colorful marble walls…one by Mark R. Smith, and one by George Johanson…here are the walls during construction

and here is Mark R. Smith’s painting…

Here is George Johanson presenting his drawing to the committee last year…

and here is the finished painting in place…

We visited George this summer as he was finishing up the painting, so here are just some images…first just the back ground…plus he made a smaller version to work out his “program” for the painting…

You better go take an up-close look…the details are wonderful…

Later a series of Michael Brophy Oregon images (watercolors maybe?) will go in this niche…

something like this…

Don’t forget…this is OUR building too…better go take a look!

6 Comments

  1. bonnie, once again your reportorial eye & writing skills inform the two of us of so much we wouldn’t otherwise be tuned into, and delight us at the same time. a wonderful issue of your blog as they all are. thank you. we will certainly take the art tour in the near future. (sloy & nic) p.s. good placement for the mark r. smith painting, & the lee kelly sculpture reminds us of the exquisite retrospective we saw at PAM a while back.

  2. oof! Hadn’t seen the Johanson piece yet, and considering that he’s from Portland, it’s disappointing there’s no bicycling in it. Modern transportation will have a bigger role for walking and biking and other forms of active transportation in the 21st century. The prominence, too, for highway building is understandable, but the iconography of the “new day” with a massive bridge pushes it towards a kind of socialist realism perhaps?

    I was also hoping there would be more on transportation and was surprised at the role of stormwater management in the courtyard. Roads of course create lots of impervious surface, and managing the water is a big part of design and construction. Nevertheless, the emphasis seemed like it was on building big things and not on the movement of people. For that reason, the scale of Malia Jensen’s piece made it my favorite.

    ODOT and the City of Salem, readers may not know, are working on a ginormous highway and bridge project, $687 million worth publicly (but of course the overruns would push it well over a billion), through West Salem and the Highland neighborhoods.

    Especially in the Highland neighborhood there are some old homes – not very grand it’s true, but historic nonetheless – likely impacted and the general effect on the fabric of the neighborhoods quite disruptive, even ruinous.

    City Council will next take up the issue on December 10th, if folks are interested.

  3. SUper Tease ! YOu clever creature you !!!Will calendar it for early January……..do youconduct tours ? Happy turkey, lumpfree gravy & LOTS of Pienadine

    Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 02:47:18 +0000 To: npheald@live.com

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