7 works of public art to enjoy in downtown Salem, Oregon
Discover unique art throughout the city
With close to 100 works spanning almost a century, Salem’s collection of public art includes work in almost every genre, placed on street corners, in parks and in civic buildings throughout the city. Take an easy stroll through downtown to discover seven unique sculptures, created by some of the Northwest’s most recognizable artists.
Bruce West’s Stainless Steel Cube
Watch the world rush by, reflected in Bruce West’s untitled polished stainless steel cube on the corner of State and Liberty streets. It’s hard to resist snapping a photo or two, to see what you can capture in the reflective surface.
The intersection of Chemeketa and Liberty streets is home to a trio of colorful pieces all within a hop, skip and a jump of one another.
Receptacle by Mel Katz
Receptacle by lauded Oregon artist Mel Katz, is a whimsical nine-foot tall sculpture exploring shape, and positive and negative space in vibrant primary colors.
Further west along Chemeketa Street are two murals, both added to the city’s collection in 2017.
Mirror Maze by Damien Gilley
In the alley by 1859 Cider Co., look for Mirror Maze by Damien Gilley – a mesmerizing interplay of lines and shapes. Experiment looking at the mural from different viewpoints to see if you can find the sweet spot where the mural snaps into perfect perspective.
Waldo Steward by Blaine Fontana
Find Blaine Fontana’s Waldo Stewards on the elevator shaft of the adjacent city parking garage; this four-story homage to Salem’s smallest park and the giant sequoia that stands sentry there, is populated with colorful pileated woodpeckers. A rainbow of colors and playful images delights viewers of all ages.
Breathing Post by Peter Beeman
Swing by the Salem Convention Center courtyard along Trade Street to see a cluster of sculptures in one spot, including the kinetic Breathing Post by Peter Beeman; turn the crank at the base to activate the horizontal arms above, which will have the sculpture appear to fly.
Mid-century basalt sculpture by Leroy Setzoil
Head to the southeast corner of Liberty and Trade streets to see a contemplative mid-century basalt sculpture by Leroy Setzoil. This work is unique, in that Setzoil is primarily known as a woodworker; this untitled work was originally commissioned in 1968 for the lodge at Sunriver, with basalt Setzoil found along the Deschutes River. An iconic carved teak screen by Setzoil can be seen in the Salem Public Library.
Good Cents by Lillian Pitt and Saralynn and Mikkel Hilde
Meander east through Pringle Park and look for Good Cents, created by the artist team of Lillian Pitt and Saralynn and Mikkel Hilde. This sculpture of an abstract figure with outstretched arms holding a nickel features recycled glass and a design inspired by Native basket motifs, petroglyphs and pictographs. It was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Oregon Environmental Council and the landmark Oregon Bottle Bill.