Public Art Committee Votes Not to Support Rockbridge’s Congress Square Proposal

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,421)

The Public Art Committee narrowly voted not to support the proposal for Congress Square as presented to it by Rockbridge this afternoon at the Committee’s monthly meeting.   The vote was 4 – 3.   Pandora LaCasse, is the Committee’s representative to the Congress Square Redesign Study Group, and will report the Public Art Committee’s position to the Group; the Congress Square Redesign Study Group meets on Wednesday, May 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in city council chanbers. The CSRSG will vote on the proposal and make a recommendation on the proposal to the HCDC and City Council. The HCDC meeting is set for Wednesday, May 29th at 5:30 pm (The location has not been announced.)  Public comment will be taken at this meeting.

The reason the majority of the Committee opposes the proposal is that it does not leave enough room for the plaza – which is in the heart of the Arts District in downtown Portland. Jessica Lipton, who is a representative to the Committee from  Creative Portland, said CP supports the Rockbridge proposal with several caveats:  that Rockbridge provide ample opportunity for its guests to view the public art in Portland and that a staff person be designated to coordinate with the arts district.  Jim Cradock said he supports a public/private partnership in this situation and Terry DeWan said he was undecided whether or not the size of the plaza was adequate, but he could “live with it.”

The Committee vote was taken following a presentation by Studio 5 Canal, project architects.  By the time this phase of the process is completed, next Wednesday May 22, the team will have made a presentation to about 30 organizations – including five neighborhood groups, The Chamber of Commerce, etc.

On another matter on the Committee’s agenda, was a follow up report from the March meeting in which Jack Soley said that  there is an opportunity in the near future for Portland to receive carvings from the Estate of Bernard Langlais for indoor display in Portland. Chair Lin Lisberger, reported that following a recent visit to the Langlais farmhouse in Cushing to see the collection, she learned that Portland can have pretty much as many pieces as it wants.  Lisberger has been in touch with the Public Library, OceanGate Way, East End Commuity School, Portland Jetport and  the Red Claws to ascertain it they are interested in displaying indoors a sculpture from the Langlais Collection. This list is incomplete as of this time.

The public is invited to attend a party to celebrate the launch of the Committee’s new website at the East End Beach, on the Hill.  The party  is scheduled for Wednesday, June 27th and will run from 7:30 to 9:30 pm.  June 27th is the rain date.

For more background information on the Bernard Langlais Donation, please visit Post # 1,320, dated March 22, 2013 herein.