November 10th, 2010 | by Jason Slotkin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Empty Business Gets Dressed Up with Local Art

Portland-Storefronts-Bill-W

As you travel through downtown Portland, you may notice some vacant storefronts in this lousy economy.

Now there will be a few less economic eyesores over the holidays, thanks to a pilot program called Portland Storefronts.

The Regional Arts and Culture Council says the program, co-sponsored by the Portland Business Alliance and Travel Portland, will allow four local artists to set up installations in a highly-visible storefront on Southwest Morrison. The idea is to alleviate the dreariness of the now-empty former home of Carl Greve Jewelry.

And unlike a Potemkin village, this one will at least showcase some local artists.

Anyway, here's the rest of RACC's news release:


The Regional Arts & Culture Council today unveiled several new temporary art installations as part of Portland Storefronts – a pilot program in collaboration with Travel Portland's Downtown Marketing Initiative, The Portland Business Alliance, downtown's Clean & Safe District and the Portland Development Commission.

Through Portland Storefronts, RACC engages local artists to activate vacant storefronts with temporary art installations. On display for the next three months are four installations in storefront windows at 731 SW Morrison – the building formerly occupied by Carl Greve Jewelry. Portland artists Damien Gilley, Sean Healy, Bill Willand the team of Crystal Schenk and Shelby Davis created site-specific works responding to the physical features of the building and the surrounding retail area and activities. Visible around the clock, the installations coincide with the opening of five “pop-up shops” that are showcasing local independent design talent this holiday season.

About the artists:
Bill Will, www.billwillstudio.com
Installation: us – acrylic mirrors, plywood, pine board. The reflective image of our country is captured in 50 mirrors shaped to form a complete large scale map of the United States. Each state can be a mirror of our individual choices and actions, suggesting we consider who we are as individuals and as a nation.

Bill Will is a sculptor and installation artist who has exhibited extensively for more than 25 years. He is a professor at Oregon College of Art and Craft and a member of Nine Gallery, located inside Blue Sky Gallery at NW 8th and Davis. In 2005, The Art Gym at Marylhurst University featured a mid-career retrospective of his work and in 2006 he was awarded the 15th annual Bonnie Bronson Fellowship. In addition to sculpture and installation art, Bill has also completed more than 30 public art commissions, including several in Portland and at stations along the Westside Light Rail line.

Damien Gilley, www.damiengilley.com
Installation: Small Multiples – transparent colored window vinyl, metallic mirror vinyl, foam core structures. The work echoes the structures and environment of the downtown area, specifically referencing retail facades. The piece celebrates the beauty of uncertainty and the possibilities that exist during a time of regrouping. The work is displayed in a window that once showcased luxury goods, and this installation uses crystal related structures to create a sense of space. The intention is to reflect a positive, playful optimism about the change and restructuring we have witnessed in the marketplace.

Damien Gilley is a Portland based artist working in installation, drawing and sculpture. He has shown work nationally and internationally and has been awarded multiple grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council as well as an Individual Artist Fellowship in 2010 from the Oregon Arts Commission.

Sean Healy, www.elizabethleach.com
Installation: Water Tables – epoxy resin, neon. In this work, Healy makes reference to the markers that are placed on buildings downtown to denote the various flood lines in Portland's past.

Sean Healy is a multi-media artist based in Portland. He was included in the 1999 Portland Art Museum Biennial and has received several important public commissions as well, including: Pioneer Place, Portland, Oregon, the Nines Hotel in Portland, the General Services Administration Headquarters, Eugene, Oregon; and the FBI Headquarters, Houston, TX. The Elizabeth Leach Gallery has represented Healy since 1999.

Crystal Schenk & Shelby Davis, www.crystalschenk.com and www.shelbydavis.com
Installation: Raven and Owl – expanding foam, urethane, wax. With a shared love for storytelling, history and symbolism, Schenk and Davis use the raven and the owl to create a scene of tension and drama that is also humorous and peculiar in its effect. Both birds have a strong presence in mythology and have been associated with foresight, wisdom and intelligence. The artists also address the physical attributes and behaviors that have made these animals into the strong characters they still are today. Taking these two icons and putting them together creates a new myth. Rather than telling the complete tale, the artists are letting it unfold and be finished by the viewer.

Crystal Schenk and Shelby Davis create works both individually and as collaborators. Their other collaborative work was a lifesize semi-truck installed for the recent Oregon Biennial, Portland 2010. Schenk is 2007 Master of Fine Arts graduate from Portland State University and won the International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award in 2006. She teaches at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland State University, and Portland Community College. Davis is a multimedia artist who focuses on sculpture, often incorporating found materials. He teaches at the Art Institute of Portland. He has had solo shows in the Carolinas and in a variety of Portland venues, and with his collaborative arts group, PAINTALLICA!, his work has been shown at Portland's Time-Based Arts festival, as well as in Los Angeles and Tennessee.
 
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