Public art is topic of talk in Newport

Coastal Arts Guild luncheon is July 11

The Coastal Arts Guild and the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts welcome Portland-based public artists Joe Thurston and Sean Healy to speak at the monthly luncheon held on Thursday, July 11, in the second floor classroom of the Newport Visual Arts Center.

The event begins at 11 a.m., and the program starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch — this month is a potluck. The Coastal Arts Guild invites those interested in the arts to attend.

The subject of this month's program is the public art commission granted to Thurston and Healy for the new building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

OSU's new Marine Studies Building is part of the university's Marine Studies Initiative, a new research and teaching model designed to educate students and conduct research on marine-related issues, from rising sea levels to sustainable fisheries and economic stability.

The building will provide laboratories and classrooms for existing programs in ocean science, as well as a highly experimental undergraduate degree program in marine studies, which works across fields as diverse as science, engineering, arts and business. It will bridge OSU's Corvallis campus and the Hatfield Marine Science Center and enhance existing programs in ocean science.

The commission Healy and Thurston have received will deal with their expertise in site-specific art, which is artwork created to exist in a certain place. Typically, the artist takes the location into account while planning and creating the artwork. Site-specific art is produced both by commercial artists and independently and can include some instances of work such as sculpture, stencil graffiti, rock balancing and other art forms. Installations can be in urban areas, remote natural settings or even underwater.

Healy and Thurston feel public art plays a vital role in the intellectual wellbeing and collective imagination of a community. They believe that by seeing art throughout a civic landscape, the people who work and live there can benefit from the kind of nourishment that only art can provide.

"As a multidisciplinary artist team, we determine the work's materials based on its concept, so that form and content are seamlessly integrated,” said Healy. “To execute, we draw on our experience with diverse materials and techniques within both indoor and outdoor environments."

For additional information and an invitation to attend the luncheon, call Mary Holt at 541-765-4599. Seating is limited. There is a suggested donation of $10 for the luncheon for non-members. Holt can also provide information about the Coastal Arts Guild, a volunteer program that staffs the visual arts center and serves the arts community of Lincoln County. The guild welcomes new members, and there is no membership fee.