by Stuart Jacobson
Sculptures have become integral and an important part of Historic Downtown McMinnville, Oregon. They are valued by the people who live here, and also they are increasingly recognized as an additional tourist draw. McMinnville was recently named as having one of the best main streets in the US by Parade Magazine. It is in the heart of Oregon’s premier wine growing region in the Willamette Valley, and tourism has become an increasingly important driver of our local economy.
We have currently on display both a growing collection of seventeen permanent City owned sculptures and also six rotating sculptures which are offered for sale. In the seven years that the public art program has existed, six pieces from the rotating exhibit have been purchased by private citizens and donated to the City’s permanent collection.
The MDACPA (McMinnville Citizens for Public Art) is run as a volunteer organization with a modest budget and funded by the City. Work is solicited and we assist both the City and Yamhill County in commissioning artworks. A recent call to artists has us currently interviewing semi-finalists for the creation of artworks for our newly completed Yamhill County Public Transit Center.
McMinnville has a reputation as a city who “does things right”, and since a sculptor was one of the founding committee members a great deal of emphasis and care is given to the concerns of sculptors who are thinking of displaying their artwork. In addition to our $750 two year honorarium we also provide a boom truck for both installation and deinstallation, insurance to protect the artwork while it’s on display, a concrete pad for supporting the sculpture, a metal plaque, and a printed color walking map of the City’s public art with a picture of each artwork displayed. We are now creating a link to our Downtown Association and the City of McMinnville website and on creating QR codes for our plaques so that visitors can access information about the artists, their artwork, and contact information through their smart phones.