Michael Curry Design at the heart of international Olympic games ceremonies

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL CURRY DESIGNS - The Dove of Peace, one of Scappoose-based deisgner Michael Curry's works, was a major piece of the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony. The dove was made up of multiple ballerinas wearing outfits.This year’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, mark the fifth time designer Michael Curry and his Scappoose design studio, Michael Curry Design, have been involved with the Olympics.

Curry and his team of designers were active in the design for the Sochi Olympics opening and closing ceremonies. While the time to see the opening ceremony on live television has passed, the closing ceremony will air Sunday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. and will feature more of Curry’s designs, including what he called a “robotic mascot.”

Curry worked as the consulting art director on the opening and closing ceremonies. He said it was a two-and-a-half year process of early advising with the Ceremonies Staging Agency, or CSA — the group assembled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government to produce the Olympics.

Curry said his time in Sochi allowed him to explore some of his artistic passions.

“It was a very successful experience for me to have. I have a love for Russian art, particularly ballet,” he said. “It was a pleasure to work with Russian ballerinas and opera costume designers.”

Many of the elements Curry used in the games were built at his studio in Scappoose, including the “Dove of Peace,” a major piece within the opening ceremony.

Curry said he also designed the ceremony’s medieval-focused sections and was responsible for general art direction for the performances.

“I was among the first to go over and see what to do with CSA,” he said, noting his early arrival in Sochi to plan for the ceremonies. “I worked on stadium design and helped form the international team that would eventually do the creation of the games.”

While Curry described his experience in Sochi as successful, he noted that this year’s games had been somewhat criticized by the media.

“It’s a very isolated part of the world,” Curry said, adding that the Olympic games were beset with unfavorably warm weather, as well as a storm that hit the city five weeks prior to the opening of the games that caused significant damage.

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