Jump starting KPA project

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Keizer Public Arts (KPA) will get a much-needed shot in the arm with the Keizer Chamber Foundation’s Pig in the Park fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Pig in the Park will have a Hawaiian theme complete with live entertainment and a luau menu. The proceeds will benefit the programs of the Keizer Chamber Foundation, especially to fund Keizer Public Arts.

Despite its name there are currently no tax dollars going to the program; the last time the city allocated money for art was in 2010. These days Keizer Public Art is funded completely by donations from the private sector.

We hope the Pig event will get the art program back on track. Since its inception in 2008 annual events have been held to raise money that has gone to pay stipends to artists for pieces that grace River Road.  As the program progressed the Mayor’s Invitational Art Gala at the civic center included a juried contest to choose the first piece Keizer’s permanent art collection. So far there are three pieces in the collection that hang at the civic center.

The art in the city’s collection was chosen with the participation of the Keizer Art Association, which has not been involved in the public art this year. That’s a shame and leaders of the volunteer, non-profit art association should find a way to be a partner in the public art program.

With money raised at a February art event and this month’s luau it would be good to see the Chamber Foundation put some focus on adding more sculptures along River Road. From this point forward we recommend other parts of the city as  art sites: Keizer Station and city parks.

Parks are great locations to place art. A sculpture garden in one of Keizer’s larger parks is a good idea. With a good design plan a sculpture garden (think a less ambitious version of Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Garden) would enhance our quality of life and it would definitely draw visitors.

Keizer Public Arts is in place, the Keizer Chamber Foundation is watching over it and is keeping it alive. With more donations and a partnership artists and their association art will flourish again in Keizer. People will disagree about the merits of any particular piece of art but most people can agree that, just like parks, art enhances life for everyone.

We look forward to Pig in the Park; it is another example of community leaders doing what needs to be done and we salute the Chamber Foundation for its efforts.

—LAZ

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