Public art projects approved in Lincoln City

Chainsaw artist James Lukinich poses next to one of his wooden creations. The Lincoln City City Council recently approved a new work by Lukinich to be carved in a 10-foot stump on West Devil’s Lake Road. (Courtesy photos)

Two public art projects, painting and sculpture, will add color and dimension to Lincoln City this year.

On Monday, the Lincoln City City Council approved plans for a series of street murals, as well as for a chainsaw-carved sculpture next to the pump station on West Devil’s Lake Road.

Crystal Akins, founder of Oregon Children’s Music Festival and director of the Community Arts Project, presented councilors with the details of the proposed mural project. She approached the Parks and Recreation Department with the idea in the fall of last year, and the Public Arts Committee and Parks and Recreation Board approved her proposal in February.

The proposal includes murals painted on paved areas in four different locations – 51st Street, Nelscott, the plaza at Northwest 18th Street and Regatta Park.

“This would be the first on the Oregon coast, Lincoln City, to debut street art on the ground,” Akins said.

The mural at the 51st Street beach access will be by Native American artist Toma Villa and feature Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim of the Siletz Tribe. Akins said she had been in contact with the family of the recently deceased matriarch, who gave the mural their blessing.

Bryan Nichols will be the artist for the Nelscott mural, Miles Brown for the mural at the 18th Street plaza, and Akins herself will create the mural at Regatta Park, she said. She said she sought out artists of color and those with a local connection, as well as those with the ability to incorporate the local community into the mural’s creation.

“These artists, they’re going to come and do presentations, talk about what it’s like to be an artist, really engage the community and the children,” Akins said.

The murals, each worth about $7,000, are funded by private donations and grants. They’ll take about four days to prepare, paint and dry, Akins said. She hopes for painting to be underway by August, after the Public Arts Committee approves final designs.

The council unanimously approved the proposal.

“I just want to say that this will be very fun, I think it will draw a lot of interest. I’ve seen others, and they really just pull you in,” Councilor Diana Hinton said.

Immediately after Akins’ presentation, the council heard from chainsaw artist James Lukinich regarding his bid to create a sculpture out of a 10-foot stump by the West Devil’s Lake Road pump station.

Lukinich is an accomplished and prolific sculptor, having created chainsaw-hewn pieces for the cities of Willamina, Sheridan and Tigard, among many other projects, and he regularly competes in the national chainsaw art competition at Reedsport. He recently bought a house and moved to Lincoln City with his wife.

The exact form of the sculpture will be determined as he is carving, Lukinich said, but it will definitely feature a wildlife theme with a bear family, as well as owls and eagles.

The council approved the artist’s $3,900 bid. He said he currently has a few big projects underway, but could begin carving Lincoln City’s stump as soon as the week after next.