Arts in Prineville members till decorate the fence on the Elm Street Bridge using flagging tape

JASON CHANEY/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The sidewalk along Elm Street Bridge is fenced off, but it will soon be decorated with colorful flagging tape.

Arts in Prineville is looking for ways to enhance the visual community through the display of various works in landmark locations.

An upstart committee that only recently formed and claims five members was looking for a modest project to get their feet wet, and they hope to have found it with the Elm Street bridge.

"Our goal is to encourage public art around Prineville," said committee chair Amy Pettijohn. She points out that Bend and Redmond feature many beautiful art pieces, yet few can be found in Prineville. "Our goal is to help improve that situation by bringing more public art to the town."

That art could come in many forms, Pettijohn said, including sculptures and music or other music and art endeavors.

Arts in Prineville members are targeting the Elm Street bridge because they feel the structure could use some help in the visual department.

"It is not very exciting," Pettijohn said of its appearance. "It will be ripped out next year, so our thought was to liven it up at least for the summer with a temporary art installation."

The committee is hoping to use flagging tape, the same material used to mark trees in the forest, and create a pattern along the chain link fence with the 25 different colors available. Pettijohn points out that flagging tape is not very expensive and if the project is damaged, it is easy to fix.

"That way, when people drive or walk by, or they are in the park during the summer, they will have something hopefully a little more exciting to look at," she said.

Pettijohn approached the Prineville City Council about the committee's idea on Tuesday night and found the group liked the idea and encouraged Arts in Prineville to move forward on it. Councilor Gail Merritt agreed that the bridge is not visually appealing, and Councilor Steve Uffelman said he looks forward to the decorations.

The Arts in Prineville committee hopes to move onto large projects next year and is working with Crook County Foundation to become one of the organization's subcommittees. By doing so, they would obtain nonprofit status and raise funds for larger art projects.

"We have several grants that we have researched and once we resolve our 501c3 status, we can apply for them," Pettijohn said. "We are figuring it out as we go along, but we are really excited."

 - Arts in Prineville members plan to add colorful flagging tape to create patterns in the fencing, similar to the pattern in the photo shown above.

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