3. Discovery

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Discovery is a public art sculpture installed at the Lewis and Clark Elementary and Intermediate School in St. Helens, Oregon.  I completed this piece in 2001.

The sculpture is a 27 foot long canoe form’ that is made of aluminum tubing, sheer silk panels and fiberglass reinforced cast resin.  The piece is suspended from a 30 foot tall ceiling (in the entryway to the school) using traditional boat rigging hardware.  When the students of Lewis and Clark arrive at school every day they enter through a bank of three doors and pass underneath the sculpture.  The ambient air currents shift in the voluminous space and the silk sheer ‘bulkheads’ which delineate the canoe’s volume begin to flit and flutter in the breeze and when the air currents are just so, the canoe appears to almost be moving through invisible waters.  This effect is hypnotic when viewed from below the piece but even more magical when viewed through the wall of windows at the rear of the space on second floor.  I called this piece Discovery for two reasons:  in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition which was commemorated just a few months after completion of this piece; as well as for the discoveries that await the students every day when they attend school here.

Special thanks to the former Principal, Jerry Meadows, for being so supportive and helpful through the design process as well as helping me with the installation.  This was my first public commission and remains one of my favorites.


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