Public Art in Portland, Oregon

Portland Oregon

Portland, Oregon, is known for many things. Famed Voodoo Doughnuts calls this city home. As does Stumptown Coffee, Woodblock Chocolate and many fine craft beer breweries. But aside from the food and drink scene, stunning scenery and vibrant downtown, Portland is also home to some top-notch public art. You’ve just got to know where to find it. The artistic city has so much art that iPhone users can even use this handy app to find it throughout the city. Public Art PDX pinpoints your location and then shows where the nearest art is. Don’t own an iPhone? No problem. The local Regional Arts & Culture Council even has the handy map where you can track it down. Read on to discover more public art highlights of Portland.

Mercurial Sky by Dan Corson

This LED light installation canopy—it resembles a horizontal ladder supported by vertical columns—in a public park lights up the sky, no matter what the weather conditions. According to artist Dan Corson’s website, the lights are meant to reflect natural occurrences (moving water, fire, clouds, pulsating jellyfish) in a park that’s devoid of green space. Talk about a modern way to connect with nature.

Nepenthes

Equally striking are Dan Corson’s Nepenthes sculptures around town. These curvy sculptures—they appear to light up at night with contrasting colors like blue and black and orange and green—are meant to recall their namesake, a group of Carnivorous plants. The plants are notable for their “leaf vases” that collect water that monkeys will sometimes drink from. The name of these whimsical creations has a two-fold meaning. It also refers to a Greek magical potion that causes the drinker to feel relieved from pain, grief and sorrow. “I hope these sculptures might provide a brief respite from a hectic daily life, transporting us briefly somewhere else,” according to Corson’s website.

City Reflections

This public art installation is meant to be a piece on what urban life is like. These two bronze and granite are located near a transit mall sandwiched in between two main thoroughfares in Portland—“where business, civics and culture all come together.” The standing woman is besides a small dog that’s meant to counterbalance her height, according to Public Art Archive.

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Image: Pixabay