The Noble Architect

Submitted by Ruth Frances Greenberg

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Client: Regional Arts & Culture Council

Location: Portland, OR, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $72,000

Project Team

Artist

Ruth Frances Greenberg

RFG Tile LLC

Artist

David J Laubenthal

DJL Studio

Client

Kristin Calhoun

Regional Arts & Culture Council

Overview

The Noble Architect, facilitator of rich ecosystems, benefactor of the past, builder of our future. 72″ tall x 36″ x 36″, concrete, rebar, polymer, handmade ceramic tile, galvanized steel. This sculpture honors the majestic beaver that once abundantly inhabited and thrived in this area. The beaver faces the rising sun looking for a day when humans and nature harmonize.

Goals

This sculpture was a part of the Alberta Streetscape Project to make this well traveled arts neighborhood more pedestrian safe and friendly. The goals were to make a sculpture on the bus platform that invites interaction and is relevant to this neighborhood and city.

Process

This is a collaboration with sculptor David J Laubenthal and we together developed the concept and presented it to the neighborhood committee and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Although we as artists were given a lot of freedom to develop the concept and composition, the piece needed to have a small footprint and also to please both RACC and the neighborhood arts association with our ideas. It was important to Dave and I that the piece have impact and be a piece people could physically interact with. The process of working both the RACC and the neighborhood association was thoroughly enjoyable and members of both committees made frequent visits to both of our studios with interest and enthusiasm.

Additional Information

It has been incredibly satisfying to observe how hundreds of people sit on, climb, take selfies with this sculpture. I've often witnessed parents to answering their child's questions about this animal and why it is important. Noble Architect is accessible and lovable and has even illicited interaction from other artists on at least two occasions. One winter, an artist put two 10' tall branches with "bites" cut out each against the beaver's arm. It has become a neighborhood icon which is really a dream come true for an artist!