Art in the Archives Building -
Art in Public Places program On to exhibits
The art displayed in the Archives Building is part of the state's Art in Public Places program that became law in 1976. The program mandates that one percent of expenses for the construction of public buildings must be spent on art to be displayed in and around the building. Since its inception, contemporary art has been placed in state buildings all over Oregon. Freely accessible to the public, these state buildings are "museums without walls," a place where people can encounter work of high quality as they go about their business. The works help to humanize and give meaning to the environments in which they are placed.
The works that have been placed in the Archives Building were chosen by a committee composed of artists and art professionals, people who work in the building, and representatives from the contracting agency. This group gave hours of time to the selection process which began with thoughtful dialogue about the building's function, who the users of the building would be, and the most likely places for the art. The process ended with screening slides of work by hundreds of artists who had expressed an interest in the project.
All of the work selected for this building is "site specific," which means that it was especially commissioned for a particular place in this building. So you will find art such as carved text taken from old state records; a tapestry depicting Oregon's resources and industries; or a glass wall piece reminding us, in the words of an Oregon poet, of our pioneer heritage. Some of the art is functional as well as beautiful, such as the display gates at the exhibit gallery entrance.
The artists chosen met with the selection committee to consider the special function of this building before returning to their home communities to design works using images (and sometimes words) that focus attention on the valuable information stored here and what it means to Oregonians to remember the past and to learn from it.