“Bloom Boom” Art Installation Makes a Downtown Debut

Funded by a Metro Enhancement Grant, downtown’s new art installation “Bloom Boom” was the culmination of many months of effort of an art selection and steering committee, the Downtown Association and Clackamas County Arts Alliance.

Artists’ Vicki Wilson and John Larsen were selected from local and regional artists that responded to the RFP:

Our task was to create a unifying element on Main Street’s light poles that would help identify the business district. We were inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs used on the building facades and wanted to incorporate the architectural history of the area. We used the Art Nouveau technique of transforming architectural structures into plant forms and the Art Deco language of bolted planar metal. Once the form was established we continued using the design sense of these art movements to create pieces that referenced the area. Some works reference the natural world through native plants; others reference the unique architecture of Oregon City’s Main Street District. The lantern effect at night was of particular interest to us as the use of color, light and shadow, positive and negative space has been favorite design challenges of ours.

As we spent more time around the community on Main St. we became aware of the symbolic aspect an opening flower has in this place. Oregon City is growing, waking and exploding into the city it will become. Residents seem energized for the changes and we are thrilled to contribute to the momentum.

Arches was the first design and it is intended to reflect the arch of the nearby bridge while creating a feeling of movement and bursting. We used an off white interior to recall concrete. Waterfall recalls Singer Falls, which is directly behind the sculpture. The vertical design picks up the fluting of the light pole and draws the two parts together. Fern is a natural balance to the manmade imagery in these pieces. We often turn to nature and native plants for inspiration. The fern shape and the flower shape are so compatible; they were already a good match. The intricacy and organic quality of the fronds makes this piece a little different from the others. Lupine is a flower native to the Northwest. The upward visual movement that is present in the plant’s design seemed fitting for our rising and bursting aesthetic. Leaf was the last design we made. It is at the opposite end of the series from Arches so it has a design which echoes the Arches. This design is a fusing of the architectural and natural, a piece to bring together elements of both types of designs. It is placed near a busy entrance to Main St. so we wanted the color to be warm and inviting.