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Improbably balanced triangle to be art in park

Arts Commission chooses diver's design for Forest Grove's Lincoln Park

COURTESY PHOTO: - The Forest Grove Public Arts Commission chose  Oregon City resident Ben Dyes Tres-Novem as its Art in the Park selection. Dyes sculpture was revealed to the city council Monday.A former commercial diver and underwater welder has been selected by the Forest Grove Public Arts Commission to create and build the city’s next public art acquisition.

PAC Chairwoman Dana Zurcher, former PAC Chairwoman Kathleen Leatham, and Parks & Recreation Director Tom Gamble announced during the Forest Grove City Council meeting Monday that Ben Dye will construct a sculpture for Lincoln Park as part of the commission’s “Art in the Park” program.

When it sent out its call for sculpture proposals in October 2015, the commission specifically wanted outdoor art “that reflects the spirit of the community, its history, the present, and its future,” according to commission documents.

After receiving 11 submissions and using a subcommittee to help whittle down their options to four finalists, commission members ultimately chose Dye because “he had the best sense of developing a lasting community,” said Leatham.

“I liked them all, but this one is timeless,” she said. “He has a mission.”

That mission, according to Dye, is to inspire education and help solidify a sense of community continuity. “Inspiration is the key to education,” Dye told the News-Times. “And everything starts at art. So what happens when everybody works together?”

Dye, 54, moved to Oregon City from southern California in 1996. Since then, he has been commissioned for 18 different sculp-

ture pieces across the Portland area.COURTESY PHOTO: - Ben Dye's Mobius II in Tigard shows the texture Dye will use to create Tres-Novem, welding hundreds of individual plates into a single form to symbolize a community coming together for a single purpose.

The piece that earned his Forest Grove commission will be similar to Mobius and Mobius II, two sculptures he created for a skate park in Estacada and a coffee shop in Tigard, respectively.

But with “Tres-Novem,” the title of the proposed Forest Grove sculpture, a slightly different approach will be taken.

“This twist on the classic Mobius form emphasizes continuity of the community,” Dye wrote in his application to the PAC. “The fluid, continuous shape, built of hundreds of individual pieces, depicts the possibilities when a community comes together. The three sides speak to putting in the effort, seeing the results and giving back.”

Referring to the giving-back element as a vital part of his work, Dye intends to use 100 percent reclaimed material for the sculpture’s construction.

To pay for the commissioned $25,000 sculpture, the PAC has received a couple grants from the city and the Cultural Coalition, but still has roughly $12,400 to go.

For residents interested in helping, information on the “Name a Brick” fundraising event can be found at forestgrove-or.gov/nameabrick.

Each brick costs $50 and will be used as part of a proposed three-part pathway that will wrap around the sculpture.