Among attendees were city staff, arts commission members, Portland designers and community supporters

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Artist Ean Eldred, a partner at the Portland-based architecture design firm rhiza A+D, speaks during the ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony for the Salmon Tree Cycle sculpture on McNulty Creek Bridge. The two-piece sculpture could be seen in the background throughout the dedication.The St. Helens Arts and Cultural Commission held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Sept 21, to celebrate the installation of a sculpture called the Salmon Tree Cycle, which was placed on McNulty Creek Bridge late last month.

The sculpture is on the east side of Highway 30 and the dedication ceremony was held across the street in the parking lot of the Columbia Veterinary Clinic, where it was visible across the roadway.

The sculpture is the second phase of the ACC's Gateway Sculpture project, which was first launched in 2012 as a way to create landmark artwork to beautify the main roadway of St. Helens, Highway 30, and welcome visitors to the city.

Approximately 60 people attended the ceremony, about half of whom were members of the ACC, St. Helens city staff, or contributing donors and financial supporters of the project.

Ean Eldred and John Kashiwabara, both partners at the Portland-based architecture design company rhiza A+D, were in attendance at the dedication. In October 2015, the St. Helens arts commission selected its design proposal for the sculpture after reviewing five proposals that met the arts commission's criteria.

Eldred took time to explain the meaning behind the sculpture and how the sculpture depicts the natural relationship between salmon who live in the Columbia River and the natural environment around them.

Julie Vigeland, incoming board member for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and past chair of the Oregon Arts Commission, was also a guest speaker at the ribbon-cutting. Vigeland also spoke at the dedication of the Gateway Project Phase 1 in 2014, when two blue obelisk-shaped lantern pieces were installed on Milton Creek Bridge.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Arts and Cultural Commission board chair Kannikar Petersen speaks during the dedication ceremony. A crowd of nearly 60 people showed up to the event to show their support for the newly installed sculpture.At the event, a specially designed explanatory plaque was also displayed, which will be installed on the west side of Highway 30, near the sidewalk on McNulty Creek Bridge, across the road from the two-piece Salmon Tree Cycle sculpture.

The St. Helens Public Works Department installed the sign this week.

The plaque bears an inscription that explains the symbiotic relationship between salmon who live and spawn in rivers and the plants and trees that flourish and grow along the riverbanks.

The sign also includes the names of significant donors and contributors to the project. In 2016, the ACC ran a crowdsourcing fundraiser on the website Kickstarter to garner financial support and to encourage community buy-in for the project. Donors who contributed $1,000 or more to the Kickstarter campaign will have their names engraved onto the explanatory plaque.

Construction of the plaque was funded through a $2,000 grant from the Columbia County Cultural Coalition and $2,977 of in-kind contributions from AKAAN Architecture and Design and the public works department with the city of St. Helens, Dimsho said.

AKAAN is a St. Helens based-company owned and managed by St. Helens Planning Commissioner Al Petersen and Kannikar Petersen. Kannikar Petersen is the St. Helens Arts and Cultural Commission's board chair.

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