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'Sunrise' comes to LO neighborhood

Party planned for unveiling of Swickard statue on June 14

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Sunrise in the City will be welcomed by the McVey - South Shore Neighborhood Association with a party on June 14. It is the first neighborhood in Lake Oswego to have its own statue. Lake Oswego may soon be known as “Statue City.”

The Gallery Without Walls has long been an artistic triumph for the downtown area, but now sculpture is coming to the neighborhoods, thanks to Debi Bradway and the McVey-South Shore Neighborhood Association. The unveiling of the steel sculpture “Sunrise in the City,” by artist Jesse Swickard, will be turned into a celebration on June 14 at noon at the triangle at McVey Avenue and Laurel Street. by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - As president of the McVey-South Shore Neighborhood Association, Debi Bradway wanted to find a way to unify and beautify her neighborhood.

The art piece is under wraps right now, but Bradway is putting up balloons in anticipation of the big day.

“I think it’s really cool,” Bradway said. “It will beautify the neighborhood.”

Four years ago, Bradway decided to attend a meeting of the McVey-South Shore Neighborhood Association for the first time in 20 years. She had a good excuse for her long absence: a busy career as a public school administrator in Portland. But being a natural doer and go-getter, Bradway soon found herself elected association president, and she began thinking about ways to unify and beautify her neighborhood.

Normally, those kinds of ideas are submitted to the city’s Neighborhood Enhancement Grant Program. But Bradway had a different project in mind — a work of art rising up in her neighborhood — and it turned into a three-year effort. Working with association co-president Mark Grimm, Bradway presented her proposal to city neighborhood planner Sarah Selden.

“This striking, abstract sculpture will not only enlarge the city’s permanent outdoor sculpture collection,” Bradway said, “but it will also enhance one of the main gateways to the city.”

Bradway’s idea did not come cheap. “Sunrise in the City” was valued at $12,000. Fortunately, Swickard reduced the price to $4,000.

“We were so glad he did that,” Bradway said. “Otherwise, we couldn’t have afforded it.”

After the purchase was made, Bradway’s association turned around and gave it to the city. Lake Oswego now has a permanent addition to its art collection, and city workers will maintain the sculpture.

This could be the first of many such projects.

“We were the first neighborhood association to do this,” Bradway said. “I expect other neighborhoods to do it, too.”

Nancy Nye agrees with her. Nye is the executive director of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, and she is excited about the statue coming to McVey and Laurel.

“This is a very creative and innovative way for the neighbors to enhance the gateway to their neighborhood,” Nye said. “Neighborhoods sometimes think they can’t accomplish something like this. But I get calls all the time from Texas and Florida from people who want to accomplish what Lake Oswego has. Now we’re a model for other programs of public art. They give a community a sense of place and pride and a sense of ownership.”

Nye said the Gallery Without Walls has also proven that a strong public art program can help a city grow.

“Our Gallery Without Walls is given as a reason why people move here,” Nye said. “They say it’s wonderful to have such wonderful creativity right on our streets. People are looking for communities that have character.”

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