It’s an albatross, the bird you see in Devin Laurence Field’s sculpture “Inner Strength”.
Field picked the bird because of its ability to travel long distances, representing the idea of “having the strength to go on a journey by yourself”
Now the albatross of Inner Strength has a new landing place – the plaza of Chemeketa’s Yamhill Valley campus.
A crew from the City of McMinnville, members of the McMinnville Downtown Association’s Committee for Public Art, and Field himself worked on Nov. 25 to relocate the 18-foot galvanized steel sculpture from its previous location at the Oregon Mutual Insurance building in downtown McMinnville.
The sculpture is first piece of outdoor art on the campus that opened in 2011, said Holly Nelson, the campus’s dean, joining over 40 pieces of regionally-created art that decorate the inside of the campus’s two buildings.
Having that first outdoor piece come from a sculptor as accomplished as Field, whose work is on display in places including the Seoul Art Center and the Beijing Olympic Park, is an added plus.
“It’s incredible to think it’s going to be here,” Nelson said, “and to have it from someone that renowned.”
The addition of the sculpture also puts the campus on a literal map – the Downtown Association’s Art Walk map, which provides visitors the locations of more than two dozen works of public art throughout McMinnville.
Nelson said that provides another way for the college to connect with the community of McMinnville and bring visitors to the campus.
Work on getting a sculpture to Chemeketa has been going on for over two years, said Steven Rupp of the Committee for Public Art. The city and the college are both contributing toward the costs of the display, which included installation of a concrete pad and an honorarium payment.
Inner Strength is a good fit both in its design and color matching the campus architecture and its inspirational theme, Rupp said.
“It conjures concepts of honor and integrity,” Rupp said. “And that’s what education is about.”
An event celebrating the sculpture’s addition is planned for the future, Nelson said.