The coast is an ideal place for artists to retreat, reflect and create. So, it’s no surprise that coastal communities are home to theaters, galleries, glassblowing shops, blacksmiths, woodworkers, photographers and more. They are also home to a wide range of public art. In an effort to make that public art more visible to visitors, the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) is leading an effort to create an art trail that traverses the entire length of the Oregon Coast.
The Oregon Coast Art Trail would assist people who want to take a self-guided tour of the Coast, or sections of the Coast, while stopping at and learning about public art pieces along the way. The trail could also serve as a directory of arts-and-culture destinations, such as theaters, galleries, artist studios and events. Numerous cities around the state, including Port Orford, Bandon, Cannon Beach, Hood River and McMinnville to name a few, offer self-guided public art tours. Creating one for an entire Oregon Coast region is an ambitious endeavor.
“The goal of this project is to help residents and tourists connect with artists, gain a deeper sense of place, and improve artists’ livelihoods,” says Marcus Hinz, executive director of OCVA. “The public art trail will be a perfect call to action for visitors venturing to the coast during the off-peak season.”
OCVA is relying on partners such as the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts to help with information gathering and has hired Kevan Ridgway, Cannon Beach resident and former CEO of Vancouver Coast & Mountains, one of six regional destination marketing organization affiliated with Destination British Columbia.
“Public art is a form of community expression,” Ridgway says. “So for visitors, public art is a great way to learn about a place. Hopefully the Oregon Coast Art Trail will entice patrons of the arts to wander into local galleries, inquire about local theater performances or plan a future visit to explore more of the art trail.”
Ridgway is reaching out to the 27 cities along the Coast in an effort to create a list of all existing public art pieces. He’s also gathering any documentation he can find about the artists, including statements of their work, and capturing high-quality images. He expects his research to take about four months. People who have information about a public art piece or would like to serve as a resource are encouraged to email him at email@example.com.
“Once we have a solid inventory, OCVA can create a high-impact marketing campaign geared at supporters and would-be supporters of the arts,” says Hinz. “We also plan to help towns that currently have no public art learn how they might go about creating a public art program.”
Oregon Coast Council for the Arts
Americans for the Arts – Public Arts
“How Art Economically Benefits Cities”
Photo by George Ostertag / Alamy Stock Photo