In spite of 2020’s unprecedented hurtles, the year is not over and the relatively small Washington County-based arts organization Tualatin Valley Creates (TVC) is committed to making the last few weeks of this year a little more joyful. TVC has been working with four large-scale sculptors to create vibrant and engaging works in its “Musical Benches Public Art Collection”. Each new piece is considered functional art in that it both captures audiences imagination through contemporary design and aesthetic, and it can literally be sat on and played with.
Three of the four new works were recently installed in Cedar Mill, Tigard and Forest Grove. Ben Dye’s “Tubus Musica” at THPRD’s Timberland Park (Cedar Mill) is a two-sided air-based instrument that is played by tapping paddles (or by cupped hands) which can make up to 12 distinct notes. The artist, THPRD Park Staff and TVC Executive Director were the first to play all the notes in an almost “battle of the bands” -like effort on the day of installation this last October. Shortly after Dye’s installation, Jill Torberson installed her brightly painted musical cubes in Tigard’s new Universal Plaza (downtown Tigard). The perfectly-sized red, orange and yellow cubes are designed with aluminum chimes that can be gently pushed to activate long sound waves that vibrate through [your] body while seated. The panels of the cubes echo this theme. They depict overlapping soundwaves in concentric ring patterns, and when the cubes are aligned, the pattern perfectly connects.
The most recent install was Jud Turner’s “Wishing Bench” in downtown Forest Grove (corner of A Street and 21st Ave). The nearly 7’ tall, Asian-inspired bench features a hanging double mallet that when pushed against the cylinder creates a long, low tone that reverberates through the crisp fall air.
This collection was funded in part by Washington County in an effort to employ/commission individual artists and to encourage community connections. TVC worked with partners within each district to jury the 33 submissions, identify ideal installation sites, and moving forward, to help monitor the artwork from vandalism and maintenance. Community members throughout the Pacific Northwest are encouraged to safely enjoy each Musical Bench in accordance with state Coronavirus guidelines. Visit www.tvcreates.org/musical-benches/ to see progress photos from each artist’s studio and to learn more.