City of Tualatin Selects Studio Art Direct for Gateway Art Monument and Sign

TUALATIN — A year from now, Tualatin’s entrance on Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Nyberg Street will be graced with a fountain adorned with large bronze geese. The Tualatin City Council approved the project Monday night and authorized the city to enter into a $367,987 contract for the final design and installation of the art feature.  Article by

Tualatin Community Totem will include 1000 lbs of hand scuplted bronze, 20-ton engraved rock and a waterfeature. Design by Studio Art Direct, Inc.

By Angela Webber / The Tualatin Times, Dec 15, 2010 –  The art piece will cost an additional $5,000 per year to maintain and should be completed by Dec. 15, 2011.  The art installation was intended to be part of a larger renovation of the city’s main entrance on Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Nyberg Street. In addition to the art installation contract, $1.2 million was budgeted for landscape design and construction along the road. All of the funds for this project come from Tualatin’s Central Urban Renewal District Plan.

In July, the city sent out a call for artists to submit ideas for the gateway art piece. The call resulted in 25 proposals, which were all reviewed by a selection committee that included city councilors and citizen volunteers.

At the council meeting Monday night, Councilor Donna Maddux said most of the committee members preferred the flying geese design, which stood out as a representation of Tualatin.

The winning concept was designed by Janelle Fendall Baglien, President of Portland-based Studio Art Direct. Studio Art Direct is a corporate art consultant firm which connects regional artists to projects for governments, hospitals and other organizations and businesses. Baglien has 25 years of experience in art and signs that include entryway signs in Sherwood and art pieces in Happy Valley and Portland.

What is certain is that the art piece will include geese, hand-sculpted in bronze by Troutdale artist Rip Caswell. The geese will have wingspans of 5 to 6 feet. According to a project proposal, the geese intend to evoke not only a tie to nature, but more symbolic meanings about teamwork.

The geese will appear to be taking off from a water feature, which will represent Tualatin’s wetlands, and will have lights to illuminate the installation at night. Oregon City-based Coffman Excavation will serve as the general contractor for the entire project, including the installation of the water feature.

In Monday night’s council work session, The City Council discussed the possibility of shifting some or all of the $1.2 million that was budgeted for additional landscaping at the city’s “main entrance” to a different project. This project would address complaints about parking spaces by businesses in Tualatin’s central district. The project might include a parking structure. The City Council will discuss that possibility at a work session in early 2011.

(Rendering by Wayne Chin)

About the Sculpture by designer Janelle Baglien

I chose geese because they are artistically elegant in their curves and movement, they are a reflection of nature, and most importantly, they are symbolic of what it means to live as a community. 

The influence and spirituality of geese has a long history. They were revered as a sacred bird in the Roman temples of Juno, associated with the North Wind in Greek Mythology and are a powerful totem and spirit guide for the Native Americans including the indigenous Kalapuya tribe of Tualatin.

According to Native American’s, geese teach us that the value of community is not an exclusive privilege or a burden but a shared opportunity. 

The Kalapuya looked to geese as the spirit guide of cooperation and belonging.  They believed that they embodied the spirit of communication, dedication, compassion and shared leadership. 

For Tualatin, there are lessons to be learned from the goose’s communal demeanor. They don’t ever leave behind an ill or wounded fellow bird. Should a goose become injured during a trek, another goose will leave the migrating flock to stay with its fallen comrade. The goose will stay with the injured until he has recovered or until its final breath. This compassion and selflessness teaches us that caring is a natural behavior and strength lies with in the power of two or more.  

 In flight, members of a flock alternate leadership roles. This teaches us that when we are balanced and in harmony with our community we will also know when to lead and when to follow.

Native lore says that if geese show themselves as your totem; consider your role in your family, workplace, or community.  It tells you to reach out for help or support and work together to accomplish more than double what you can do alone.  The Goose Totem is influenced by the element earth, which stands for steadfastness and stability. They are a sign of versatility, tenacity and focused energy.  Guided by the motto “In silence lies strength,” geese have big plans and, by climbing steadily, go far.

Further, geese have intricate methods of communication – not only do they sense when their brethren are in trouble; they also work as a team to communicate warnings.

The time when geese migrate announces the passages of the Great Circle of the Year, reminding us of the sanctity of the cycles of our lives and our relationship to nature.

Like Tualatin, geese congregate in groups that can reach the tens of thousands and together they strive for the greater good.

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