A mural by Portland artist Samantha Wall, commissioned through Oregon’s Percent for Art in Public Places Program, has been installed in Oregon State University- Cascades’ Edward J. Ray Hall (Ray Hall). The Percent for Art in Public Places Program is managed by the Oregon Arts Commission.
The approximately 14-foot by 25-foot installation, titled “What Moves Us,” consists of three distinct 7-foot-tall gold bodies in positions that suggest suspension. Each body is ringed by 10 circles that upon closer inspection are portrait heads, all set against a blue and grey gradient background. The mural embodies the transformational power and inspirational force generated through Ray Hall’s integrated learning environment.
Opened on Sept. 1, 2021, Ray Hall serves the STEAM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The building is a model for the next generation of OSU- Cascades campus buildings, providing a flexible and adaptable internal framework for the university’s expanding and evolving academic programs. The building leverages the unique topography and high desert setting, creating dynamic indoor and outdoor spaces.
Guided by Oregon’s Percent for Art statute, an art selection committee considered the most appropriate artwork for the building. Through a competitive process, the selection committee – composed of OSU-Cascades faculty, staff, project architects, landscape design lead and local arts professionals and chaired by Percent for Art in Public Places project manager Ryan Burghard – selected Wall to create a site-specific mural for the top of a central staircase leading from the building's atrium.
“Commissioning an artwork that would embrace change and growth as a core concept was one of the goals our committee hoped to achieve through this process. We sought proposals that would represent the confluence of disciplines in Ray Hall and inspire innovative and creative exchange,” said Burghard.
“The installation celebrates scientific inquiry as an evolving process centered on humanity’s curiosity and compassion,” said Wall. “Creativity is an engine for change and drives innovation not just in the arts, but throughout all fields of study. It’s within an intermingling of disciplines that we find inspiration.”
Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Wall immigrated to the United States as a child. She received her BFA from the University of South Carolina and her MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland. Her projects have been exhibited at the Hangaram Art Museum in the Seoul Arts Center, CUE Art Foundation in New York and Portland Art Museum, as well as in exhibition spaces in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Frankfurt. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including an MFA Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, a Golden Spot Residency Award at Crow's Shadow Institute for the Arts, and the Arlene Schnitzer Prize at the Portland Art Museum.
The mural is located on the ground floor of Ray Hall on the central staircase wall adjacent to the main lobby on Oregon State University’s Cascade campus in Bend (1500 SW Chandler Avenue).
Oregon’s Percent for Art in Public Places Program
Oregon was one of the first states in the nation to pass Percent for Art legislation, placing works of art in public spaces throughout the state. Since then, the Percent for Art in Public Places program has maintained a commitment to the placement of permanent art of the highest quality in public places. Committees of local residents across Oregon make selections. The overall collection enhances the state’s public spaces and contributes to our well- recognized quality of life.
Oregon Arts Commission
The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust.