By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

Statues installed downtown

On Friday, “La Solita” was placed on the corner of N.E. Fourth and Davis streets, on Oregon Mutual Insurance property.

The sculpture features a female figure carved from Bardiglio marble by M.J. Anderson. Two similar works sculpted by her face each other in front of the Attorney General’s Office in Salem.

Anderson splits her time between studios on the Oregon Coast and in Carrara, Italy. She secures her marble and roughs out her sculptures in Carrera, then ships them to the U.S. for completion. 

On Saturday, “Drift” was installed downtown on the Adams side of the McMinnville Fire Station. The abstract sculpture was fashioned of basalt and galvanized steel by Lee Imonen, a sculpture instructor at Lane Community College in Eugene.

The McMinnville Downtown Association’s Committee for Public Art commissioned the two pieces. A partnership between the city and association launched the committee in 2007.

“La Solita” is the second piece of public art on Oregon Mutual’s property. Vice President Steve Patterson complemented the committee on the job they do around the community and said the pieces are considered a great benefit to the company.

“Really, all we have to provide is the space to put it,” Patterson said.

Patterson said the piece fits perfectly with the classic look of their original building facing Fouth Street. He was the one who suggested it.

“They were thinking about several spots, some in front of the newer building as symmetry to the piece already placed there.” Patterson said. “We thought since it has a classic Grecian look it would go well with the columns.”

He added, “I really think the way they placed it and poured the pad was great.”

Pieces are typically placed under a two-year honorarium with an option to renew once. The committee paid the creators of the new works $750 for two-year display rights.

That means they can be displayed no longer than four years unless funds are secured to purchase them outright. But in a number of cases, funds have been raised.

Committee Chair Steve Rupp launched the tradition by buying “Garden Rabbit,” a metal bunny on permanent display in front of the aquatic center. An anonymous donor funded purchase of the city’s most popular piece of public art, the “Ben Franklin” statue downtown, which has its own Facebook page.

The seven-member committee operates with an $8,000 annual budget. It uses the money to cover honoraria, install works and purchase walking maps.

Some 22 pieces of art are currently on display. The city has acquired 16 at a total cost of $193,760.

Most of the money has been donated, Rupp said, “So we’ve gotten a pretty good return on our investment.”

The initial two-year honoraria are scheduled to expire on three works this year: “Inner Strength,” mounted in front of Oregon Mutual on Baker Street, selling for $25,000; “Segmented Prism I,” mounted at the northwest corner of Fifth Street and Lafayette Avenue, selling for $15,000; and, “Silent Works,” mounted outside the county clerk’s office at 212 N.E. Evans St., selling for $12,000.



The best "art" in town is on the sidewalk corners. When you get to an intersection, look down and see what numbers are stamped in the concrete and then look which street you're actually on. That is art!

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