Four artists from across the country have entered proposals to be considered for a high-profile piece of public art that will be installed next year at what Portland officials are describing as a gateway to Maine’s largest city.

The “roundabout” public art project at Brighton and Deering avenues and Falmouth Street will be located in a heavily traveled intersection that funnels traffic through the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus and the University of Maine School of Law campus.

The Maine Department of Transportation will design the roundabout. It will become the city’s first roundabout and will be constructed in 2020. Roundabouts are circular, one-way streets that move traffic through intersections while eliminating the need for traffic lights.

Members of Portland’s Public Art Committee will present the artists’ concepts to the public on Wednesday during a 5 p.m. meeting at the Portland Public Library. On Thursday, the roundabout art selection committee will consider the proposals, before making a recommendation to the Public Art Committee.

“True North” Courtesy of Anna Hepler

The four artists under consideration are: Anna Hepler of Eastport; Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley of Indianapolis; Will Vannerson of Kansas City, Missouri; and Mark Pettegrow, who summers in Kennebunkport and Machiasport.

“The Roundabout artwork will be a significant addition to the neighborhood, University of Southern Maine, and University of Maine Law School Portland campuses, and greater Portland community,” the Public Art Committee said in a news release. “The artwork potentially highlights this location as a gateway to Portland and the importance of the location as a site of learning both historically and currently.”

Members of the Portland Public Art Committee and a city planner hosted a meeting in March to gather input on what residents would like to see in the artwork’s design. The people who attended that hearing said their main concern was that the artwork not create a distraction to motorists and that it not compromise pedestrian or vehicle safety.

The city has budgeted $30,000 from its dedicated public art fund for the roundabout art project.

Hepler’s design, called “True North,” resembles the wooden hull of a boat turned upside down. Pettegrow has dubbed his proposal “Passing the Torch,” while Vannerson’s design is called “Pelagic Dream.” Owens and Crawley have proposed 12 multicolored columns with shrubs growing at their base.

“Passing the Torch” Courtsey of Mark Pettegrow

“The work must be of a height and mass appropriate to the location in a way that commands the space and creates a noticeable presence,” the Portland Public Art Committee said. “The selected work should create a profile visible via sightlines down streets that feed into the roundabout. This profile should be visually interesting while not distracting to drivers in cars, but should also be engaging to pedestrians.”








Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: