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Sowing the seeds of unity

Hillsboro's newest public art to be installed at Shute Park Library.

COURTESY PHOTO: RACHEL REITZ - South Meadows Middle School art teacher Brian Cook, center, encouraged students Erich Flint, left, and Joselene Roman, right, to help design Shute Seeds.It’s no surprise that artist Blessing Hancock was selected to helm the project behind animating the Shute Park Library wall.

The Tucson-based artist owns Skyrim Studios, which focuses on site-specific sculpture. Melding her bachelor’s degree in sculpture master’s in landscape architecture, Hancock creates innovative work for public spaces, and has completed monumental sculpture projects throughout the world. She has extensive experience working with city agencies, project teams and community groups. This time around, Hancock is working with the city of Hillsboro’s Public Art Selection Committee.

Her new Hillsboro project, titled Shute Seeds, aims to convey the thoughts and dreams of the town’s residents, with a special focus. Shute Park Library is located in the heart of the town’s Hispanic community. With this in mind, Hancock delved into the background of the area’s many pioneering Mexican families that settled in the area.

This was exactly what the art selection committee was looking for — artistic quality combined with the ability to connect with the local community and involve them in the creative process. Out of the 170 artists who applied from across the country, going with Hancock was a no-brainer.COURTESY PHOTO - This design will be projected onto the wall of the Shute Park Library as part of Hillsboro's newest public art installation.

Hillsboro’s history of agriculture and cultures rooting into the area was what lead to the concept of Shute Seeds. The sculpture is a circular array of seeds that form a projection mosaic. The work will cast a colorful light on the massive concrete wall on the south side of Shute Park Library. The individual seeds grow together to join into a unified whole.

The design not only represents the community at large, but also the process of the project itself. Hancock alone did not pull off this feat. Over a period of several months, locals contributed to Shute Seeds by offering input.

South Meadows Middle School vice principal Jose Barraza was on the art selection committee and encouraged art teacher Brian Cook to get his students involved. Hancock was very impressed with many of the sketches that the students submitted, so much so that a lot of the designs sent in were incorporated into the sculpture.

Hancock will be installing the stainless steel sculpture, complete with color changing LED lighting later this summer. The public is welcome to attend the Shute Seeds dedication ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 11, at 8:30 p.m. at the library. The inaugural lighting will follow the Showtime at Shute concert that day, which features Jujuba, a band that delivers a funky, danceable style of Nigerian Afrobeat and Juju music.