Monday, June 02, 2014

Buckeye Bench

So this is one of the more minor entries in this humble blog's ongoing public art series. Buckeye Bench is a bench next to the playground in NE Portland's Woodlawn Park. The designs on the sides of the blocks are nice, certainly, but if it hadn't been in the city public art database, I doubt I would have even noticed it, much less given it a post of its own. And still, it's basically a set of low cinder blocks to sit on, so don't expect amazing ergonomics here. The RACC database says this is a One Percent for Art project, so I'm guessing the budget here was one percent of some relatively small and cheap project. RACC's description is fairly brief:

“This bench takes its inspiration from the Sweet Buckeye tree that grows in the park just southwest of here.”

The cast forms resemble three views of the tree’s leaves - a complete leaf, a close-up and an even closer view of the leaves’ ends.

Buckeye Bench was created by Anne Storrs, who also created Tall and Fallen at the SE Main MAX station on the Green Line, and Begin Again Corner at SW 5th & Columbia in downtown Portland.

I'm not sure which nearby tree was the inspiration for the bench, mostly because I can't identify buckeye trees on sight. They aren't native to the Pacific Northwest; the sweet buckeye (pictured here, apparently) is native to parts of Appalachia, while the Ohio buckeye (Ohio's state tree) has a wider range across the Midwest. Not to be confused with the buckeye candy, a chocolate-dipped peanut butter ball that happens to be Ohio's state candy. Oregon, I'm sad to say, doesn't have a state candy. Pears are the state fruit, chanterelles are the state mushroom, and hazelnuts are the state nut. Chinook salmon is the state fish, and Dungeness crab is the state crab. Milk -- not IPA or pinot noir -- is the state drink. And that's the entire list, foodwise, unless people out there are eating monarch butterflies and I don't know about it. It's a boring list. I was bored just typing it.

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