Americans for the Arts recognizes “Streetcar Stop for Portland” and “Inversion +/-” among the country’s most outstanding public art projects

Above: Streetcar Stop for Portland, Jorge Pardo, 2013, N Broadway & Ross Avenue.

PORTLAND, ORE – Americans for the Arts (AFTA) has recognized 37 outstanding public arts projects completed in the United States in 2013, including two artworks managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.  A total of 345 projects from across the country were submitted to AFTA for consideration for this year’s Public Art Network Year in Review, the most prestigious national honor in public art.

  • Streetcar Stop for Portland by artist Jorge Pardo located just north of the Rose Quarter, at NE Broadway and Weidler. The eccentric multifaceted structure includes over 300 individual panels in shades of gray and brown on the exterior, with warm hues of orange and yellow on the interior, sheltering streetcar passengers and marking the stop in a highly visible and fantastically colorful way. Pardo’s creation provides a “rainy on the outside, sunny on the inside” experience for Portland’s Streetcar riders. The inspiration for the exterior palate derives from an evening photograph Pardo took and then simplified and mapped onto the surfaces. He intended the piece to be best appreciated when it is dark and rainy and the interior lighting creates a warm glow that stands out like a beacon amongst its dark surroundings.
     
  • Inversion +/- by Lead Pencil Studio is a monumental scale sculpture in three parts located at the bridge approaches for the Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District. The elements draw “ghosts” of buildings demolished in the 1950’s for highway construction, including a cast-iron foundry, a warehouse, and an apartment building. At Hawthorne, two large elements are constructed with a matrix of weathered steel to form the front and back corners of a building. At Morrison the matrix renders the perimeter of the same building form emphasizing the negative space surrounding it.  In reconstructing remnants from the past and building out to the previous property lines, the sculpture explores the scale and complexity of the lost civic fabric.

Streetcar Stop for Portland and Inversion +/- were both funded through the City of Portland’s Percent for Art program, which sets aside two percent of most publicly funded capital construction projects – in this case, the Portland Streetcar’s eastside expansion – for the creation and maintenance of public art.

“We are honored that these two works have been recognized among the country’s excellent and innovative public artworks last year,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of RACC. “What I like the most about these two projects is how they engage people along our streets in very different ways – one is human scaled and neighborhood focused, while the other is of much greater size and intended to be viewed from a distance or from below looking upward against the sky. Inversion references the past, while Streetcar Stop is a nod to our future, emphasizing the importance of public transit and sustainability.”

The Regional Arts & Culture Council manages one of the country’s oldest public art programs, with more than 2,000 community-owned artworks in a variety of public places throughout Portland and Multnomah County. The entire collection can be explored online at racc.org/public-art/search and through an iPhone app (publicartpdx.com). RACC and Travel Portland also produce a public art walking tour map for the central city.  In addition to its public art program, RACC provides grants and other services for artists and arts organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties, and helps teachers integrate the arts into the standard curriculum in K-8 classrooms across the tri-county region. Learn more at racc.org

For a complete list of all recognized projects, click here.