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Fundraisers fuel librarys artistic vision


Multi-media project needs $45K for materials, fees

Ed Carpenter doesn’t usually do “small.”

The nationally known artist installs “gateways” on large, busy bridges. He designs decorative windows for cathedrals, university libraries and city halls. He creates giant public sculptures for convention centers, towers, airports and courthouses across the country.

But this year, Carpenter is setting his sights on something smaller — and closer to his Coast Range home.

“This is the smallest thing he’s ever done,” said Colleen Winters, director of the Forest Grove City Library, where Carpenter is spearheading a multi-media public artwork titled “The Garden of Knowledge.”

Carpenter is doing this because of his personal connection to the library, where his mother volunteered before her death in 1998.

The Forest Grove Library Foundation recently approved a $45,000 contract with Carpenter, who is donating his labor and design work but needs money for materials and installation.

But the library needs a little more fundraising to reach that funding goal and to provide further money for local metal artist Eric Canon and woodworker Greg Kriebel, who will also lend their talents to the piece.

A strong lineup of fundraising activities is already in place, with proceeds going to the foundation to support the Carpenter project:

n Family and Friends Night: From 5 p.m. to closing time on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Ironworks Grill at McMenamins Grand Lodge, 50 percent of all restaurant proceeds will go to the Foundation. Previous fundraisers have raised $2,000 to $2,500, Winters said.

n Lauren Sheehan Concert: The award-winning singer who has appeared on National Public Radio and in cities across the country (laurensheehanmusic.com) will sing Saturday, Oct. 19, at Taylor-Meade Performance Hall, which is being donated for the event by Pacific University. Sheehan also happens to be Carpenter’s wife.

n Books ’n Buns: Maggie’s Buns will host its fourth lasagna dinner fundraiser at the United Church of Christ in January.

n Murder Mystery: Guests can take part in a scripted murder mystery that unfolds inside their own familiar library.

n Talk: Carpenter and a special guest speaker will speak about their work.

A brochure noting all these events, along with the history and budget of the project, will be available at the library by the end of August, said Winters, who is encouraged by all the people stepping forward to help.

As word of the project’s momentum gets out, some money is already coming in.

“I got a check for $2,000 yesterday,” Winters said.

And the Forest Grove City Council awarded a $4,850 Community Enhancement Grant to the Public Arts Commission, which will put $3,000 of it toward the Carpenter project.

Carpenter, who first envisioned this artwork about 15 years ago when the library was preparing to add onto its east end, estimates the piece will be completed about a year from now.

That’s relatively quick, given that Carpenter spent at least a decade checking in with Winters once a year by phone or email for word on whether the library was ready to start the project:

“Anything?” he’d ask.

“Not yet,” she’d respond.