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Feathered friends welcome Tualatin visitors

New monument takes flight at city's entry
by: Submitted photo, Seven of the symbolic birds are

Tualatin's new entryway monument at the city's entrance at Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Nyberg Street is nearly complete.

All that's left is a little landscaping work to spruce up the habitat of the city's flock of seven bronze life-size geese, depicted in flight, rising from the rippling water of a wetland pond below.

The Tualatin City Council approved the project in December 2010, selecting a winning concept design by Portland-based Studio Art Direct.

To create the original artwork for the entryway, Studio Art Direct chose nationally renowned Oregon sculptor, Rip Caswell, an authority on wildlife art who has been sculpting in bronze for more than 20 years.

His recent commissions include the larger-than-life sculpture of former Gov. Tom McCall in Salem, the Iraq War Memorial in Madras, installation of 'The Battle' - two life-sized elk - at the High Desert Museum near Bend, and most recently, two sculptures - 'Mary and Joseph' and 'The Crucifix' - for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kan.

'I was truly inspired in creating these geese,' Caswell said of the city's entryway project. 'The indigenous Native American Kalapuya tribe of Tualatin believe geese to be a powerful totem and spirit guide representing community, cooperation and belonging.

'They carry significant meaning. They're tied directly to Tualatin and to what the city represents.'

In creating the geese, each with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet, Caswell used more than 500 pounds of clay, crafting each feather on each wing. He hand-designed thousands of individual feathers for Tualatin's new public art display.

'We're excited in how this has turned out,' said Mayor Lou Ogden. 'It's a very impressive welcome to the city.

'We love the beauty of the geese sculpture, and we know this will be a monument Tualatin will be very proud of for years to come.'

Caswell is recognized as one of America's major bronze sculptors. His pieces can be found in public spaces, commercial developments and private collections throughout the United States and abroad, including New York, Washington, D.C., and England. He has created more than 200 sculptures of various subjects in contemporary and realistic styles.

City officials are planning a public welcome celebration for Tualatin's resident bronzed, feathered friends on June 25.



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