College celebrates 50 years

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Outdoor art free and open to public

Story by Stephanie Fajardo
Photos by Victoria Tinker and Stephanie Fajardo

If you stick with something long enough, anniversaries are part of life. If you’re lucky, you get to celebrate your accomplishments in a big, colorful way for everyone to see.Clackamas Community College is marking its fiftieth year with festivities like the Outdoor Sculpture Invitational. For the next 10 weeks, large outdoor sculptures are dotting the Oregon City campus to help celebrate the college’s birthday.The exhibit showcases emerging and established artists in our region who work in a variety of mediums and ideas. The idea for the event came from retired instructor, Rick True, who taught art at Clackamas for 26 years and is a former department chair. True’s iconic NW sculpture, a two-story, blue copper fish mobile of a trout, sturgeon, whitefish, bluegill, bass and a catfish can be seen swimming high in the breeze next to Rook Hall. The fish mobile pays homage to True’s first love, fly-fishing. Nathan Orosco’s sculpture, located by the community center is called “Breaking Ground and Sharing Our Colors.” Made up of colorful plastic strips on top of a tall pole, the structure looks like a flag. It’s long, translucent strips of colorful plastic sparkle and swirl like prisms in the sun. Orozco said he used primary colors so when the strips overlap, they’d give viewers a different shade with each gust of wind. “I like public art because people can “happen” upon my work, unlike having to go inside a gallery. My flag represents the ever changing landscape of our culture and society,” said Orosco.Lee Imonen’s giant rusted “Burner” sculpture, located in front of Randall, is a giant rusted tower on massive log legs is inspired by structures seen at logging mills. Now, we often see their remnants half deteriorated and covered by blackberry briars.In Vicki Lynn Wilson’s “Propagate” on the lawn in front of Dye Learning Center, is a large circular garden that looks like a ripple effect caused by taking a first step. The smaller gardens are created by other unseen thinkers number-17-as-Smart-Object-1doing the same. Where the gardens overlap, she said, “Something new is created.” Wilson considered its environment and the people who will see it. “I think public art can give viewers a sense of belonging. Art can make them pause and consider the place where they stand and what it means for them to be there,” said Wilson. “It would be nice if someone felt inspired to dip their toe and cross pollinate their ideas with others,” she said.Kate Simmons, CCC artist, teacher and director of the Alexander Gallery oversees this year’s event. You’ve probably been greeted by her perky “Gretta” dog sculpture, inspired by her own rat terrier, sitting on high alert at the bench across from the Community Center. “Art has play

ed a major role at our school over the years and we’re proud to be a part of our community’s creative development,” said Simmons. The anniversary celebration on May 21 is free and open to the public. The artist’s reception will feature light refreshments, a guided tour of the sculptures to hear about the artist’s process. Performance troupe Pendulum will perform. All the sculptures are on loan from the artists until June 3, but this year, Clackamas will take a peoples’ choice vote on which piece will take up permanent residence on campus. Voting can be done online or in person at the ASG office starting May 1