Art and the City

Art and the City

JACKSONVILLE — Another type of deer has appeared in this town known for its wandering wildlife. But this deer won't move, and he heralds an outdoor galley that will place up to 15 sculptures in the downtown area to delight residents and visitors and support artists.

Sculptor Brian Pancheau's 46-inch-high steel yearling stands in a garden area between the Jacksonville Post Office and the historic phone building on Oregon Street. Pancheau first approached City Councilman Chris Gilman with the idea of placing his art on hiking trails near town. The pair, brainstorming with resident Alec Miller, created the concept of displaying pieces by a variety of artists that the public could purchase, with a portion of sales going to the city.

"It's blossomed into something much bigger with the support we've gotten from the town," said Pancheau. "There's been an amazing amount of support from numerous different people."

The council approved the outdoor gallery at its meeting Tuesday. Gilman said merchants he has talked with have been receptive to the idea. An independent, five-member Jacksonville Outdoor Gallery committee is guiding the effort.

"We have a lot of really good places in Jacksonville that would be perfect to stimulate interest in art and start getting revenue to artists," said Gilman. "Some of the pieces could be functional, such as chairs or tables."

Because the concept arose just three months ago, many details remain to be worked out. But Gilman expects that three more sculptures will be placed in the near future. It may take until next year for all 15 designated spots to be filled, he added. Most of the locations are near Oregon or California streets or adjacent to the Peter Britt Gardens.

"For the time being we are just coordinating the display of art," said Miller. "Transactions will go directly between the customer and the artists. The city will get 5 percent from the gross sale."

Nonprofit status will be sought by the group so it can secure grants. The group also plans to arrange with local merchants to take payment for the art pieces.

Creation of another visitor activity for Jacksonville, revenues for local artists and no cost for the city government are among the guidelines for the group, said Gilman.

The council imposed five criteria on the gallery: Each piece must have liability insurance; sculptures cannot obstruct the normal use of sidewalks or other areas; pieces must be able to withstand public usage: and a standard method for bolting sculptures in place that has approval of the public works department will be developed. The final criteria calls for the gallery committee to select the subject matter and content. That criteria will keep the city away from free-speech issues, said Miller.

The gallery is seeking artists who want to display their work and is soliciting sponsors to help with the placement of individual sculptures. Interested people should contact Gilman at 899-1395 or

"We are scrambling to take care of the details," said Miller. "We are going to get a lot more eyeballs on art this way."

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at

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