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Splash of color coming to downtown with Art Walk

Planners say Tigard Art Walk will be catalyst to bring people to downtown


SUBMITTED PHOTO - Several new glass sculptures are being installed this week along Southwest Main Street.Standing nearly 20 feet tall, Mobius seems perfectly at home watching traffic pass by on Southwest Main Street.

The sleet gray metal sculpture, installed this week at Symposium Coffee, 12345 S.W. Main St., is the first of several new art installations on their way to downtown Tigard ahead of the city's second annual Art Walk, which kicks off Friday.

The downtown is expected to explode with color over the next two weeks, as more than two dozen artists showcase their work at several downtown businesses.

“It’s going to change the game for downtown,” said Steve DeAngelo, owner of DeAngelo’s Catering and the president of the Tigard Downtown Alliance.

The two-week-long festival features paintings, ceramics, stained glass, kinetic art, fabric art and more, each on display at different local businesses. Visitors can cast their vote for their favorite in the “People’s Choice Award,” with the winner to be announced on May 15.

The Art Walk began last year when the downtown was in the grips of a major road construction project that snarled traffic and hurt business in the area. The walk was launched as a way to bring people back to downtown businesses amid the construction.

Last year’s walk produced modest results, DeAngelo said, but with construction wrapped up by the end of 2014 and people returning to Main Street, DeAngelo said he is expecting larger crowds this year.

The hope, DeAngelo said, is that while art lovers are in downtown, they’ll discover local businesses and become repeat customers.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Elise Shearer prepares the pop up art gallery on Southwest Main Street. Downtown Tigard will host the second annual Art Walk over the next two weeks.“It’s a catalyst for getting people excited,” he said.

This year, the Art Walk has grown substantially, with a new pop-up art gallery at the former Frame Central location, 12260 S.W. Main St.

“There’s more paintings coming in,” said Elise Shearer, Art Walk’s project coordinator, as she set up a display of paintings on the morning of Tuesday, April 28.

The gallery will showcase additional artwork from the juried artists, as well as a special GLEAN exhibition. A partnership between Metro, Recology and CrackedPots, GLEAN pieces are created with recycled materials saved from landfills.

“I am excited to add a pop-up gallery space to this year’s Art Walk,” said Shearer. “This is an exciting event for downtown Tigard.”

Starting Saturday, May 2, several local spray paint artists will be on hand at the pop-up gallery working on a live art demonstration, working on 10 8-foot-long murals designed around the theme of what makes Tigard special, Shearer said.

“These type of pop-up galleries can go in any type of empty space,” Shearer said. “Hopefully, in the future, we don’t have a lot of empty spaces downtown, but if there is, (I hope) we can do a gallery in the future as well.”

Check it out

What: Tigard Art Walk

Where: Art is on display at 25 businesses across downtown, with art gallery at 12260 S.W. Main St.

When: May 1 to 15

Click here for a full list of businesses and artists participating in the Art Walk.

By far, DeAngelo said, the piece de resistance of the Art Walk are the 20 new glass installations that will line the southern half of Main Street.

“We’ve been calling it Tigard’s ‘bling,’” DeAngelo said.

The Downtown Alliance secured a $52,000 grant from the Washington County Visitor’s Association, which it is used to create the sculptures at Live Laugh Love Glass on Southwest Commercial Street, as well as to install benches and bicycle racks in downtown.

The glass pieces resemble hanging flower baskets, DeAngelo said, but with a uniquely Tigard twist.

“Flowering baskets are great, but everybody does it,” DeAngelo said. “What else can we do?”

Brett Vincent, who opened Live Laugh Love in downtown Tigard in 2012, said that the pieces were more difficult to make than he had planned, but they were worth it.

“I originally said it would take five days to blow all the glass, but it probably took us 15 days,” he said.

Each basket is composed of 16 small glass spheres encased around a large metal basket frame, and the baskets come in a variety of colors.

“I can’t wait to see them out in the sun,” Vincent said. “They’ll be really cool.”

The baskets are being installed this week on light poles across downtown.

Gallery without walls

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Mobius, a new art sculpture on display in downtown Tigard, is one of several art installations the Tigard Downtown Alliance would like to bring to the area. It's Tigard Art Walk begins Friday.While the Art Walk may be temporary, the glass baskets and Symposium Coffee sculpture are permanent additions to the Main Street scene, DeAngelo said.

“What we’re trying to do is get people excited,” DeAngelo said. “We could populate Main Street with (even more of) these types of fixtures if we could fund them.”

Lake Oswego has had a similar approach to public art, with several installations on display across the city.

“It’s a gallery without walls,” DeAngelo said.

Tigard is known more for its traffic than its art scene, but DeAngelo said he’d like to change that.

“It’s about generating traffic on Main Street,” DeAngelo said. “If word gets out about this, people may want to come down and see this stuff. It’s a potential draw.”

Last year, the city hired a graffiti artist to spruce up a local walking path, and murals have graced the side of Tigardville Station and the TriMet WES station for years.

It’s all part of a plan to help the long-struggling downtown, DeAngelo said.

The city has poured millions of dollars into the downtown over the last few years, adding parking, redesigning roads and sprucing up area businesses.

“We’re going somewhere,” DeAngelo said. “It’s baby steps and it will take time, but we have a much greater opportunity today than we’ve had in previous years.”

The Tigard Art Walk begins Friday, May 1, at 10 a.m., with a public grand opening at 6 p.m. Friday at the pop-up art gallery, 12260 S.W. Main St.

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