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Celilo work by Maya Lin wins big grant

Oregon foundations are teaming to support artist Maya Lin’s planned sculpture honoring Celilo Falls, a historic traditional fishing ground on the Columbia River that was submerged by the creation of The Dalles Dam in 1957.

The Confluence Project — which is creating a series of six Lin works celebrating the culture, ecology and history of the Columbia River, announced Wednesday that Meyer Memorial Trust awarded a $500,000 grant for the Celilo Falls installation. That came on the heels of a $150,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation, a $250,000 grant from the Ford Family Foundation and a $250,000 gift from the Collins Foundation in the past six months.

The Celilo installation now has secured $6.9 million of the $8.5 million total cost, says Colin Fogarty, Confluence Project executive director.

Lin’s art installation tells the story of Celilo Falls via a curved, raised walkway modeled after tribal fishing platforms.

The project will occupy three acres, and expects to attract 500,000 visitors a year.

Confluence is a collaboration among Pacific Northwest tribes, Lin and local communities in Oregon and Washington. Each project combines art installations with educational and cultural programs.

Four of the six planned sites are completed: Cape Disappointment State Park in Ilwaco, Wash.; Vancouver Land Bridge in Vancouver; Sandy River Delta near Troutdale; Sacajawea State Park near Pasco, Wash.

A fifth project at Chief Timothy Park in Clarkston, Wash. will be completed this year, and the final project at Celilo is slated to be finished in 2016.

“Completion of Maya Lin’s final site, the Celilo Arc, will ensure that future generations will be able to experience the story and legacy of the now-submerged Celilo Falls,” says Doug Stamm, chief executive officer at Meyer Memorial Trust.

“There is little at Celilo Park that tells this important story, beyond a few small signs,” Fogarty says. “Maya Lin’s Arc will serve as a reminder about the profound significance of this site and the role the river still plays in our lives.”

Steve Law can reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Twitter: @SteveLawTrib

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