UCC Mainstream Online

Campus infused with Northwest art culture

Juniper by Brenna Tyler is made from collected wood & metal materials.
Alex Ivey / Mainstream
Juniper by Brenna Tyler is made from collected wood & metal materials.

Campus has a bit more Northwest flavor as 37 new pieces of art by 24 artists have been added to UCC’s permanent art collection for display in public locations throughout the college.

The art pieces, most from Oregon artists, were selected using a blind jury process led by Susan Rochester, chair of the Fine and Performing Arts department.

“One of the key themes I wanted to emphasize is the artistic expression of the Pacific Northwest; we have a unique kind of light,” Rochester said. According to Rochester, UCC now has the largest public art collection in Douglas County.

“We have a unique kind of light.”

—Susan Rochester, fine arts chair

The blind jury process had eight people chose between 1,100 pieces by 115 artists with no information given to determine the artist’s identity, intent, costs or the true size of the pieces. The jury contained student representation, including Skylor Jacobs, UCC Visual Communication student.

“It was a great process,” Jacobs said. “It was a little overwhelming at first. There were a lot of great artists, and we had to narrow them down to so many.”

The jury’s decisions brought art from Roseburg, Winchester, Winston and other parts of Oregon. One piece also came from Renton, Wash. A work by Renee Couture, assistant professor of art at UCC, was chosen as well.

“What I thought was really fascinating is the pieces that came together and that had consensus or, in many cases, were unanimous choices. They work really well together as an exhibit,” Rochester said.

Because the jury did not have a sense of scale of how large the artwork really was at first, the jury was in store for a number of surprises.

Fireman’s Carry is by Clint Brown, Corvallis.
Alex Ivey / Mainstream
Fireman’s Carry is by Clint Brown, Corvallis.

“Probably the biggest surprise was Fireman’s Carry because I absolutely loved that one,” Jacobs said. Members of the jury and other viewers, who found the Fireman’s Carry charcoal drawing an excellent piece on its own, were surprised when the work turned out to be approximately 3 feet by 5 feet. It is vast in comparison to most other art chosen, and the size adds to its grandeur.

The $45,500 that was spent originated from a fund that furnished the Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center. The art package that was purchased was one of multiple possibilities the jury chose to use the funds on.

“Even though we thought something was great, [we asked] was it worth buying,” Jacobs said. “There were some that were $15,000. They were awesome, but could we afford $15,000?”

By spring term, Rochester hopes to have a map ready to show where the pieces are located throughout campus. A catalog and guide is being worked on to provide additional information about the art, much of which will be displayed in Danny Lang.

“My intent is that every building on campus, when you walk into the public space, one of the first things you’re going to see is a work from the permanent collection,” Rochester said.