Written on August 4, 2017
On August 4th the selection panel of the City of Ashland’s Downtown Beautification Committee met and after a wonderfully insightful discussion, they voted to recommend the concept ‘Velocity’ to the City Council. Gordon had visited Ashland, OR a few days prior to present his two preliminary design concepts for their theater corridor public art project. Gordon will be receiving further comments from the City Council after their meeting on September 5th. He will then refine the design for ‘Velocity’ and the installation is expected to move into the fabrication phase in the Fall.
The Ashland Theater pedestrian corridor public art project came with some restrictions, as the artwork could not be affixed to the historic building walls. The corridor connects Main Street and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival theater campus of Ashland’s Downtown Historic District.
Goals for the site-specific artwork for the 142-foot long corridor space were to enhance the pedestrian experience, create a sense of place and activate the space. The artwork shall become a distinctive landmark that is compatible with downtown Ashland and its artistic and intellectual background, shall visually connect the Shakespeare Festival theater campus and Main Street and should elicit community pride and community engagement.
With ‘Velocity’ Gordon took a more abstract conceptual approach. The visualized trajectory of a ball bouncing off the ground along the corridor quite literally activates this barren space and creates a sense of buoyant, energetic movement. Integrated lighting will further enhance the installation and create an inviting space both at daytime and night. The concept connects to the idea of a course of movements or sequence of motions as being a fundamental element in the performing arts. Its abstract nature lends itself beautifully to endless, other creative metaphors and interpretations.
The ‘Giants’ concept, the second of the two, featured three larger than life metal figures inspired by classic Shakespearean theatrical poses. Huether reimagined these poses as figurines made of a medley of repurposed materials, mainly metal. The patchwork-like approach metaphorically connects to Ashland’s past, present and future, a place made up of many puzzle pieces, which create a community that embraces its history, change, progress, growth and diversity.
The allocated project budget is $113,000 and the installation is anticipated for the end of 2017.
Watch the video of Gordon’s presentation below!