By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
It may not be a new mural, but it is a new piece of art for River Road in Keizer.
Rick Smith, a Keizer salvage artist with a small custom fabrication shop, came to the Aug. 25 Keizer Public Arts Commission (KPAC) meeting to discuss his idea for an American flag.
“What came to mind was a piece I considered doing but didn’t have a place big enough to display it,” Smith said. “It’s an American flag rendition done with chain and salvage material. I have an example of a small one I’ve done before, Iron Glory. That was a small 24 (inch) by 16 (inch) wall size.”
Smith, who recently did the weather vane at the Big Toy (shown on the front cover of the Keizertimes last week), referred to a concept of the flag he showed to commissioners.
“The concept I sketched is (a flag) hanging vertically, made from large chain,” Smith said. “The canting would be a raw steel finish. Hopefully it will be very tastefully done. The work would be finished and clearcoated so it has a nice finish.”
KPAC chair Lore Christopher had a concern.
“Would kids be able to run through it?” Christopher asked. “I love everything about it but the idea of kids running through the chains. It would be insured, so the city would pay for damage to your art. We will have to figure out how to tie the stripes down.”
Smith noted the direction of the piece could be changed.
“Each link is welded,” he said. “If it was vertical, I could still weld each one. That is a possibility. It would lose some potential effect (compared to being) free hanging, but I understand it’s in a public place. The other part is to tie a link to the base.”
Keizer City Council Amy Ryan, the council liaison to KPAC who recently changed back to her maiden name, also had a question related to children.
“My concern is at the top where they can grab it,” Ryan said. “I’d be afraid they would be hurt. I would hate for your work to be ruined.”
Nate Brown, Community Development director for Keizer, had a different concern.
“My only concern is the field of stars having sharp edges,” Brown said.
KPAC member Rick Day suggested Smith do a frame, since that would mean no open links. Smith said that could be done and noted the flag itself would probably be about 300 pounds, while a base would be another 300 to 400 pounds.
Brown suggested putting the art in front of Key Bank in Keizer Station, but that idea didn’t get warm approval.
“We have a spot, we just don’t know where yet,” Christopher said.
Smith noted his weight figures were just estimates.
“I’ve been collecting chain for a piece like this for a long time,” he said. “I haven’t weighed it up in this size. Depending on the design and need for safety, my first choice is it would hang free. If that would be too tempting or a hazard, I could find a way to make it safe for display.”
Christopher pledged her help.
“We love your piece,” she told Smith. “If you built it, I will find you a great spot. A lot of businesses would be very interested in having this out front. The money is available so we’re good to go. It will be a popular piece. Go forth and make wonderful art.”