'Wishing Bench' makes music in downtown Forest Grove
The Forest Grove Public Arts Commission, with help from Washington County and Tualatin Valley Creates, is ringing in the holidays with its latest community creation — literally.
A new musical bench was installed at the corner of 21st Avenue and A Street Friday, Nov. 13, and with it comes further evidence of the commitment from the city, county and local arts community to foster a creative and functional art environment.
The "Wishing Bench" incorporates a large cylinder bell, which is rung by pulling or pushing an attached wishbone-shaped mechanism with rubber mallets attached to both ends. The mallets will then strike the bell, swaying back and forth, striking it with increasingly less force as the pendulum motion of the wishbone reduces until ultimately becoming stationary. The gradual reduction in the chiming sound is meant to create a calming sense of peace in the viewer, and to invite them to "make a wish" on the bell.
The addition of the bench is part of the Musical Benches Public Art Collection commissioned by Tualatin Valley Creates. It is paid for with support from Washington County. Its installation was organized with the help of community stakeholders throughout the region, including the Forest Grove Public Art commission.
As a result of the collection, Tualatin Valley Creates hopes to grow the region's public art portfolio with what officials call a "delightful new twist" through music.
Tualatin Valley Creates was awarded funding in early 2020 to commission four new works in its musical benches public art collection. It has created those benches in collaboration with regional partners, both public and private.
The Forest Grove piece was designed and constructed by Jud Turner. The Eugene native, who has been creating one-of-a-kind sculptures and public installations designed to engage the viewer's senses for more than 25 years, recently shared that his approach to public art is to imagine the wide variety of people who will encounter his sculptures, particularly people who wouldn't typically go to a traditional gallery, and create a work which makes them feel engaged and connected.
Tualatin Valley Creates director Raziah Roushan explained that after the four artists' chosen for the projects' preliminary designs were approved by a jury, the artists were further encouraged to exaggerate their own style, be dynamic, and keep in the forefront of their minds that this collection is truly for the community to observe, sit on and play with.
"It is easy to see why the jury chose Turner's design," Roushan said. "The wishbone concept is timeless for all ages from all walks of life."
The remaining three works either are completed or scheduled to be this fall, at the following locations: Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District's Timberland Park, Tigard's Universal Plaza, and Self-Determination Resources Inc. in Beaverton.
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