Multnomah County Central Courthouse Lobby Artwork

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Client: Lynn Basa

Location: Portland, OR, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)

Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)

SRG Partnership

SRG Partnership

Multnomah County

Hoffman Construction

KPFF

Bullseye Studio

Overview

Lynn Basa’s magnificent 1,775-square-foot fused glass artwork welcomes visitors to the Multnomah County Central Courthouse in Portland, Oregon (new construction – 2020). Mounted in the courthouse’s fully glazed main lobby, the work is composed of 120 5’ x 3’ kilnformed glass panels fabricated by Bullseye Studio. The 71’ long by 25’ tall artwork brings vibrant color to people upon entry but also during their visits to the second and third stories. Funded by Multnomah County Percent for Art and managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), Bullseye Studio worked closely with SRG Partnership, RACC, Multnomah County, Hoffman Construction, and the engineering firm KPFF. Installation of the artwork was performed by Artech, with lighting design by Keylight+Shadow and Biella Lighting Design.

Goals

The artwork offers a uniting vision inspired by Basa’s conversations with several stakeholders within Oregon’s justice system, including the Artist Selection Panel, courthouse judges, employees, and formerly incarcerated community members. A metaphorical landscape, the artwork reflects the rippling passage of behavior, through redemption and rehabilitation, that is sought in the community justice process. The artwork aspires to express a promise of justice and hope to current and future generations of Oregonians. Thanks to the durability of kilnformed glass, this phenomenal work could outlast the courthouse itself.

Process

Bullseye Studio developed a process for translating Basa’s original small-sized encaustic artwork to large-scale glass that involved mapping the artwork to 120 canvases of opalescent white glass and then painstakingly applying and fusing colored frit (crushed glass). While the scale of the undertaking was unprecedented, the techniques used to realize it sprang naturally from a proven method referred to as “painting with glass.”

Additional Information

1) Unlike stained glass, or digitally-printed interlayers laminated to float, kilnformed artworks are 100% glass and contain no lead lines or films and therefore require much less maintenance, eliminate the otherwise numerous points of potential failure, and interact more cleanly with light. 2) Bullseye Studio worked with the architects SRG to synchronize their vision of the space with the artist’s vision of the artwork, as well as helped coordinate details of the installation with SRG and the installer Artech which included establishing how to hang a two-story artwork divided by a seismic joint and mounted to walls with different load ratings. Bullseye Studio bonded lightweight aluminum honeycomb backers to each of the glass panels thereby resolving seismic activity concerns and circumventing the weight and cost of lamination. 3) Lynn Basa is a Chicago-based artist whose work has been shown throughout America and internationally. She is the author of "The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions." Basa chose to partner with Bullseye Studio to translate her work from encaustic to glass based on the success of her prior work with Bullseye Studio creating mosaic columns for TriMet’s Orange Line stations, also in Portland, OR.