The orchards of Hood River Valley and the water that sustains them find a branch in bustling downtown Hood River, via the newest downtown public art piece.
Angelina Marino-Hiedel and Joel Hiedel of Portland created the multi-piece metal sculpture, “Paths to Earth and Water.”
“We are native Oregonians with a national reputation. Our recent projects include works for Alaska 1 percent for art, Seeds Affordable Housing in Seattle, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and functional sculptures for Estacada’s bicycle plaza. Our process thrives on communication and research with the goal to realize unique, site-specific art. Our style is narrative with abstracted figurative content. In our practice we explore cultures, diversity, history and nature. We consider the arts committee’s vision during project development. We are interested in creating a new site-specific work that speaks about nature or salmon returning to spawn. Our work samples include both colorful and natural steel finished sculptures. The natural steel works often employs salvaged materials.”
April 20 ‘Paths’ Dedication
Friday at noon, Third and State streets, the event is open to the community. After a short ceremony, refreshments will be served, courtesy of Discover Bicycles, Hood River Bicycles, Mountain View Cycles, Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair, Kickstand Coffee and Kitchen and Ingrid’s Cheesecake and Pastries.
“It’s about watersheds and community, and how community arrives at its water,” Joel said.
The work was commissioned and selected by the City of Hood River via a committee of the non-profit Art of Community organization (AOC). Formally, “Paths” is a separate work from the AOC “Big Art” tour that started three years ago and was updated this year. It is set for installation April 20 at the Bike Hub building at Third and State streets.
The event is officially billed as City of Hood River State Street Urban Renewal Art Work, as the $20,000 commission came from the property taxes charged to property owners in the downtown Urban Renewal District (URD).
“Paths” is, practically, the last piece of the URD street-utilities-sidewalks improvement project done in 2014-15.
Friday’s event will honor URA officials and Art of Community and Arts in Education in the Gorge, which facilitated the “Paths” project, along with the artists.
Marino-Heidel and Heidel, who originally titled it “Orchards,” made multiple trips to Hood River to develop their ideas, preview the design, and prepare first the prototype and then the finished work for installation on the building’s metal posts.
“We want the measurements to be as troubleshot as possible,” Joel said in September. “It’s a little out of square in spots,” he said of the metal posts and building.
“In talking with the committee, they communicated that the vital agricultural nature of Hood River, and community were priorities in the piece, and we tried to culminate many ideas into the design,” Angelina said.
Angelina noted that the work can be viewed as “an aerial view as if you were on a ladder, looking down on the trees.”
According to AOC Coordinator Kristin Godkin, “To best reflect this unique place in the Gorge, the City of Hood River commissioned an original Gorge Bike Hub art installation that captures the beauty, diversity and vibrancy of the community.” The city budgeted $20,000 for the project.
“A permanent piece of public art will further enhance the location, creating a distinctive sense of place and memorable experience encouraging community dialogue and most importantly, accessible to everyone,” she said.
Along with “Paths,” the hub shelter is host to a six-foot-wide color map and activities guide, restrooms, drinking fountains for humans and pets, and benches.
The hub is within three blocks of four downtown shops providing both repairs, sales and rentals of bikes — Discover Bikes, HR Bikes, Mountain View Bikes, and Big Winds/Oregon E-Bikes — but the hub also features a DIY bicycle fix-it station, complete with wrenches, tools, and air pump.
Six communities along the Gorge banded together to develop a system of Gorge Bike Hubs. Hood River’s Gorge Bike Hub was completed in 2015 as part of the city’s $5 million Urban Renewal project.
The Bike Hubs are a network of welcome centers, information centers, trailheads and rest areas for travelers to encourage visitors to stage their trips from these communities’ central business cores, boosting economic development. Each city has developed a bike hub design unique to their community, sharing a logo and look, with a wayfinding map.
“Art of Community developed and distributed the call to artists throughout the west (and) requested portfolios from regional artists for the Hood River Gorge Bike Hub located at the intersection of Third and State Street. We talked to and met with numerous professionals and received a total of 19 submittals,” Godkin said.
Art of Community reviewed each submittal and recommended to the City of Hood River the commissioning the Merino-Hiedels. The recommendation was subsequently approved by city council.
“There were other good ones, and there was a lively discussion, but we went through and kept going back to that one, and it was unanimous, that was the piece and that was the vision. People are really excited,” Godkin said. Committee members were Cathleen Rehfeld, Mark Nilsson, C.J. Rench, Jan Mayer, MacRae Wylde, Shelley Toon Lindberg, and Godkin.
“The Marino-Hiedels’ vision, use of form and color captures a sense of optimism and playfulness that will attract both locals and visitors to the Bike Hub, enhancing the location and creating a distinctive sense of place in our downtown and memorable experience in Hood River,” Godkin said.
To kick off the Gorge Bike Hub art process, the Marino-Heidels came to Hood River for a design charette — a group discussion of the project — in May 2017, with Art of Community to talk about the culture, diversity, history and nature in Hood River for design inspiration.
“Everyone from Art of Community walked them through the site and shared stories about what draws people to Hood River and our history, culture and nature,” Godkin said. The artists then went back to their studio with the stories and created a variety of design concepts.”
They presented those options to Art of Community to select a final design direction, followed by a presentation to the City of Hood River Redevelopment Agency for review and final approval on July 10, 2017.
“A month later, Marino-Hiedel returned and it was their turn to walk us through stories,” Godkin said. “After presenting six options, AOC selected ‘Paths of Water and Earth’ to recommend to the city for further development.”
Godkin said, “We originally recommended selecting Marino-Hiedel for their use of color and form and they delivered! We were just so impressed how ‘Paths of Water and Earth’ captures so many things that we love about our place; it reflects our watershed, different pathways that bring people together, our movement and energy and of course our orchards and agricultural community.
“Their design not only elegantly compliments the structure, but will also help create a joyful and welcoming gathering space for both locals and visitors. During their presentation, Angelina described how the structure was like a stage and the artwork draws you into the space and shares the story of Hood River. We all thought that was perfect for Hood River’s Gorge Bike Hub.”
A working model, or maquette, was submitted in August and the artists went back to their studio to refine the design and color scheme and also determined how to best engineer the artwork for structural integrity and to attach to the building.
Fabrication was done over the winter, with final color finishing in March, after the artists brought the “Paths” pieces to the Bike Hub for fitting. They measured the piece to match the posts, and installed brackets for hanging the piece. Two weeks later, they returned with the finished work, and it has been in place since April 6.