Monday, April 21, 2014


It's taken me a while, but here's the third part of the Constellation trio in Holladay Park, along with A Neighborhood Gardener and Vase of Flowers. RACC calls it Constellation (Molecule):

This project attempts to illustrate the connection between the personal front yard garden and the civic park/garden. This is explored through three distinct elements. A vase of cut flowers, an abstract molecule containing elements of a good neighborhood, and the figure of a gardener/homeowner, shears in hand. The objects in the molecule were selected by the Sullivan Gulch Neighborhood Association and the person who was cast was Carolyn Marks Backs - A longtime neighborhood activist - Also selected by the Neighborhood Association.

The Smithsonian arts database calls it "Constellation: Isolated Molecule for a Good Neighborhood" (Which is way too precious to use in a blog title here). Their description:

An enlarged structure of a molecule featuring atoms in the shape of a garden tool, a milk carton, a coffee mug, a bagel, a house, a school, a family, and trees --all the things that make a good neighborhood.

...or at least that make a good cozy Portland white bourgeois lifestyle, circa 1999. Most parts of the country would have included a church too, and fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep it; here it probably didn't even occur to anyone.

If we had to revamp the molecule in 2014, it would obviously include bikes and a more diverse notion of family. Someone would probably complain about all the dairy and gluten imagery, and they'd be replaced with kale or quinoa or something. Volunteers would come forward and install a working WiFi router inside, insisting that's just as essential as the other stuff.

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