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Help purchase Angkor I

Arts Council must raise $55,000 by Nov. 1 or loaned sculpture goes back to gallery


For The Review, Tidings

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Arts Council of Lake Oswegoneeds to raise the rest of the $55, 000 needed to purchase Angkor I by Nov. 1. Donations are being solicited now.

Angkor I, Lee Kelly’s stainless steel sculpture, sits in Lake Oswego’s Millennium Plaza Park overlooking the bay, but it may be not be there long. The sculpture has been on loan to the city’s Gallery Without Walls public art program since 2011 from the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, which now wants it back.

“It would be a terrible loss to the community to have this sculpture removed,” said Nancy Nye, executive director of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego. “But it’s fast becoming a reality.”

Unless the council can raise the rest of the $55,000 needed to purchase the sculpture by 5 p.m. Nov. 1, all hopes of the sculpture becoming a permanent part of the Gallery Without Walls will be dashed.

In May 2013, the Arts Council was awarded a $10,000 matching grant from the Oregon Arts Commission/Ford Family Foundation to permanently acquire the art.

“It’s an honor to receive a grant of this size,” said Nye. “Especially for a small municipal program like ours. The award not only demonstrates the strength of our program but also how important this artist is to our region.”

So far the Arts Council has raised $31,750 of the $55,000.

“We’re more than half-way there,” said board chairwoman Shari Newman. “But what we really need is a handful of lead donors to step forward and make this important sculpture a permanent part of the city’s collection. And we need them now.”

Nye said the sculpture is important because Kelly is a “living legend and the pride of Oregon’s artistic community. And his studio is right here in Clackamas County. He’s a local treasure.”

Kelly is widely perceived as one of the preeminent sculptors not only in Oregon but also in the entire United States. Nye said work by this nationally recognized, locally based artist is “conspicuously absent” from the public art collection.

Nye and Newman stressed that time is running out. With the Nov. 1 deadline looming, pledges must be received within the next two weeks. No city or state funds have been allocated to preserve the sculpture, and the effort to maintain its place in Millennium Plaza Park is dependent entirely on pledges from private foundations, businesses and individuals.

In the short time it’s been on loan, Nye said, Angkor I has become a recognizable icon.

“People often comment that its placement creates a gateway, or window, to the lake,” said Nye. “If Angkor I is removed, it will leave a real void in the landscape. I really hope we can find the support to keep it.”

To become a lead donor or make a pledge, contact Nye at the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, 510 First St., or call 503-675-3738.



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