Arts Commission prioritizes restoration of iconic public art
Sandy takes a lot of pride from its location on the historic Oregon Trail, and one way that is depicted is in the 1993 mural by Roger Cooke featured on the back of ACE Hardware on Meinig Avenue.
Recently, while making an inventory of public art in Sandy, the newly formed city Arts Commission noticed that the mural, entitled "Peaceful Vistas," is starting to show its age with paint falling off in some places.
Since Cooke is no longer around to preserve his work, three volunteers, including Arts Commissioners Becky Hawley and Pamela Smithsted and local artist Micaiah Meyer, have taken it upon themselves to restore the mural.
The work is the first project of this kind for the Arts Commission.
"Our first mission is to get the public art we have restored," Hawley told The Post. "The condition of the ("Peaceful Vistas") mural made it the first priority. If we don't get it repaired this year, we'll be losing the original mural itself."
The mural was originally commissioned of Cooke by the Sandy Arts Society, and, Hawley noted, "the details are intact because of the quality of paint used."
"Fortunately, we have a really good blueprint then for restoration," she added.
Hawley, Smithsted and Meyer began work on the mural this past weekend, July 27-28, by sealing over what's left of the artwork.
The volunteers are not being compensating for the restoration, but the project itself has pulled money from the minimal Sandy Arts Commission budget. Funding for future preservation of the mural has not been allocated. The commission estimated the cost of restoration at $1,500.
"The Sandy Arts Commission felt this was an emergency," Hawley noted. "There was no time for fundraising or finding grants. We have the funding to get the paint back on, but we do need a small amount of money to do a UV protective seal and (anti-)graffiti coat."
Hawley and her colleagues are taking donations to create a fund for future preservation work on the mural and also purchase a plaque to recognize the history of the artwork.
According to Hawley, murals like "Peaceful Vistas," even when created with quality paints, have an expected life of about 20-30 years. With future projects, the Arts Commission hopes to make maintenance of public art "important upfront."
"In the 1990s, murals were just shooting up all around the Northwest, and in small towns especially," she said. "We're hoping to extend the life of this mural out for another generation of people. It helps us preserve a little bit of our history. What we do today is history for tomorrow."
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