Sisters residents are being invited to vote for one of three sculptures that will be installed in the center of the U.S. Highway 20 and Barclay Drive roundabout, including two submitted by local artists.
“Art is a very personal thing,” said Brant Kucera, Sisters city manager. “I have a piece I like a lot, but art is very much an individual thing. They are all very unique, very fascinating designs, and any of the three would be a really cool entrance for the city.”
More than 20 art proposals were submitted in the summer of 2017 before the Public Art Committee narrowed the field down to eight proposals. Those artists were invited to submit more detailed designs in September. After further review, three finalists were invited to present a scale model for the public to vote on.
All three sculptures are on display at City Hall, where community members have until Friday to vote. The results, and a recommendation from the city’s planning commission, will be submitted to the Sisters City Council at its Feb. 28 meeting for a final decision.
“We really encourage everyone to come down and see it,” Kucera said. “(City council) will look very hard at the input from the public. People have a say on what the entrance to Sisters looks like.”
The winning artwork proposal is scheduled to be completed in the fall.
Local blacksmith Jeff Wester, 55, of Sisters, submitted a proposal titled “Butte” with his project partner John Fleming, of Seattle. The idea behind the sculpture is how iconic cinder cones are to Central Oregon, he said.
“We first thought about having a cinder cone mountain with skis and bike on each side, but it got too confusing, too cutesy,” he said. “Nobody wanted to see the tourism. This is the land in the Great Basin and the land of fire and ice, so we went with a more basic cinder cone.”
Wester and Fleming have worked together on multiple art projects in the Pacific Northwest, including a piece titled “High Desert Spiral” — a 39-foot tower in the Simpson Avenue and Mt. Washington roundabout in Bend, installed in 2013.
Wester has spent 30 years in iron and metal work and owns Ponderosa Forge in Sisters. The opportunity to create something for his hometown is exciting, he said.
“I would be honored to be able to do something in our hometown,” Wester said.
“We have several art projects all over, but it would be really neat to do something for Sisters. To have something that large that we’ll be able to do in a place where everyone will see it would be an honor.”
The other local artist whose proposal is in the final three is Danae Bennett Miller, of Tumalo.
Her proposal for Sisters is titled “A Land of Contrasts” and features various vegetation and wildlife found in Central Oregon.
“One thing that is exciting about Oregon is that the landscape can change from one type of topography to another in an instant,” she said.
“Driving around the state, beauty can hit you just around the corner.
“The concept I created has a feeling of gateway into the landscape as you travel in one direction to the other and celebrates the beauty of Oregon.”
Bennett Miller also has a piece in Central Oregon titled “Bueno Homage to the Buckaroo.” It was installed in 2005 at the Newport Avenue and Ninth Street roundabout in Bend.
“I would be ever so honored to produce the sculpture,” she said. “I feel very strongly about Sisters, and it would really just be a complete honor to do it.”
The third proposal is titled “Mountain Helix” and was submitted by Roger White Stoller, of Portola Valley, California.
All three proposed pieces will remain on display until Feb. 16.
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