A 39 foot steel pipe sculpture titled High Desert Spiral by Seattle artist John Fleming was recently installed at the new roundabout at Mt. Washington Drive and Simpson Avenue.
The artwork is inspired by the way traffic spirals around the roundabout, the possibility of bikes and runners spiraling around a pylon in a race, and even the way lava cools into spirals. All of these ideas inspired High Desert Spiral, says Fleming.
The height, movement and lava orange color of the steel blades make it a unique addition to Bend’s public art collection. High Desert Spiral is the tallest public art sculpture to be installed in Bend by Art in Public Places. In addition to the great size of the sculpture, the 60 steel blades that hang from the piece will be quite a sight, expressed Sue Hollern, president of Art in Public Places.
Fabrication of the new sculpture took place in Central Oregon. “Ponderosa Forge played an important role in the process, fabricating and bending the heavy steel pipe to match my detailed drawings of an Archimedean spiral,” said Fleming. “Believe me, that’s no small feat!”
The sculpture by Fleming was selected by the Art in Public Places Committee after a public input process in 2012. Models by the three finalists were on display at the Deschutes Public Library for two weeks last fall.
Funding for the public art is coming from Art in Public Places, a non-profit organization that provides art to various locations throughout the City of Bend. The Bend Foundation, a non-profit founded and funded by Brooks Scanlon, Brooks Resources Corporation and its shareholders, awarded a $500,000 matching grant to Art In Public Places for the purchase and installation of public art in the Bend city limits by the end of December, 2014. Generous donations from the public raised over $500,000, resulting in the matching grant which will provide over $1 million for public art by the end of 2014.