One of my favorite things to boast about when it comes to Lake Oswego is its Gallery Without Walls, the award winning program of outdoor sculptures that rotates its collection every year. This year’s Unveil Your Art Celebration, when new art pieces will be revealed, is this Saturday, August 25 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in a new location at Sundeleaf Plaza, 120 S. State Street.
Out with the old…in with the new. How does it all happen? I asked Robin Krakauer with the Arts Council of Lake Oswego to reveal some of what goes on behind the scenes to bring about this lineup change every year.
QUESTION: How do you decide on the new pieces to add to the rotation each year?
ANSWER: Each fall we do an open call that goes out internationally and invites artists to apply. We also put the information on our website and in our email newsletters. The call is open for approximately two months and once applications come in and the call is closed a Gallery Without Walls committee meets to determine which pieces will be included. Decisions are based upon aesthetics, materials, size, weight, etc. Each year we receive upward of 75 applications from artists all over the country and abroad. Once they are determined we are in need of sponsors for the two-year on loan period.
QUESTION: How many volunteers/staff does it take to install the new pieces?
ANSWER: On average, we have a team of 5 to 10 people per sculpture, along with a variety of equipment needed to install. Some sculptures require cranes, and heavier equipment, while others are more turn-key and can be hand-lifted on to each pad.
In addition, the install includes staff, volunteers, board members, and contractors.
QUESTION: How do you determine the location of the pieces?
ANSWER: Most times we look for the correct size pad to accommodate the sculpture, as well as the surrounding aesthetics. We also take into consideration the past sponsors and their business should they like to continue sponsorship of that space.
QUESTION: What piece(s) do you get the most comments on?
ANSWER: Angkor 1 by artist, Lee Kelly. This piece is located in Millennium Plaza Park. It is made out of Stainless Steel and was acquired with the assistance of numerous community supporters, along with the Ford Family Foundation through a special grant managed by the Oregon Arts Commission.
QUESTION: Have other cities approached you to model their program after ours?
ANSWER: Yes, Florence, Oregon, Happy Valley, Oregon, plus many other cities throughout the Pacific Northwest and California. It is a hot topic now in City planning so we do get numerous calls throughout the year. Since our program has been nationally recognized some cities do use it as a bench mark. We contract with the City of Lake Oswego to run and manage the public art program and the City’s permanent collection.
QUESTION: How many pieces each year end up being bought by someone other than the city?
ANSWER: A handful are bought and acquired through Neighborhood grant programs, personal acquisition, and businesses. We are continuing the awareness of this program to let people know that after the sculptures are on loan for two years, they are available for purchase. Prices range anywhere from $1,500 to $50,000.
The schedule for this year’s celebration is:
4:00 to 5:30 p.m. – Drawing Rally
5:30 to 6:00 p.m. – Artist Talk
6:00 p.m. – Program
6:30 p.m. – Tours Begin
6:45 p.m. – Second Tours Begin
7:00 p.m. – Event Concludes
New food vendors include Canby Asparagus Farm offering an array of Mexican favorites including tamales, quesadillas, burritos, bacon wrapped asparagus, along with beer, margaritas, soda, and water; and Stellar Pops an artisanal ice pop company that makes their frozen treats from fresh, locally sourced and/or organic ingredients.
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