BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Art in Public Places said Wednesday it has awarded two public art commissions for the sculpture designs that were recently on view for the Empire Avenue /Butler Market Road/27th Street roundabout and the Powers Road/Brookswood Boulevard roundabout.
Michael Stutz will create his proposed sculpture Golden Squirrel’s Wondrous World for the Empire Avenue/Butler Market Road/27th Street roundabout.
The woven steel wheel connects the timber mills from Bend’s past, the rolling wheels of cars, and a hamster wheel — humorously representing the routine of daily life. Inside the wheel are silicon bronze strips in blue and green hues where the sunlight will sparkle through the openings. The circle of life center curves out like a partial globe, evoking the waters of the Deschutes River and our blue Earth.
Atop the 24-foot sculpture will be a playful golden squirrel, offering a striking presence above the traffic signs and cars at this busy roundabout.
“This sculpture playfully celebrates the region’s connection to nature, and the familiar routine of peoples’ daily lives," Stutz said. "I am honored to have my art become a part of your exceptional community in Bend.”
Joshua Wiener will fabricate his sculpture You and I for the Powers Road and Brookswood Boulevard roundabout.
You and I is made up of five figures (12 feet x 4 feet x 3 feet) that will appear in motion, changing position and creating new perspectives as you pass through the roundabout. The five stacked figures are made of a heavy-gauge steel with a rich patina that will be a stunning color against the Oregon sky and the natural environment. The figures appear industrial and contemporary offering complex shapes, yet somehow achieving a state of play.
Upon learning he’d been selected, Wiener said, “I am ecstatic to create this piece with you in Bend. I am so moved by the landscape and people. This art will celebrate our connectedness with play and imagination.”
AIPP sought public input from the community about seven finalists (online or in-person) on which sculpture they’d like to see for the two roundabouts located in NE and SW Bend.
Comments from the public for You and I included, “It is fun, active and colorful” and, “The energy and playfulness fit the neighborhood well.” Comments for Golden Squirrel’s Wondrous World included, “I like how the squirrel greets us and the swirling colors of the center,” and, “It is beautiful with a bit of whimsy.”
Romy Mortensen, AiPP President, said, “We had seven talented artists submit thoughtful concepts for these roundabouts, and the final decision was difficult. The public input has been fantastic, and we are thrilled that the community is engaged and embraces the opportunity to participate.”
The two sculptures selected will be included in the public art collection for the City of Bend.
Funding for public art in Bend is from the Bend Foundation, a non-profit founded and funded by Brooks Scanlon and Brooks Resources Corporation, and community donations. Art in Public Places is a non-profit organization that gifts art to various locations throughout the city of Bend.
For more information, visit https://artinpublicplaces.org/.