WAACNewsletter
Volume 15, Number 1, Jan 1993, p.13

SOS! in Oregon

by Jodie Utter

Don't call the Coast Guard. SOS! stands for Save Outdoor Sculpture!--not "Help, I'm drowning!"

The SOS! project is a nationwide, state-by-state outdoor sculpture assessment project funded by the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian) and the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property. It is being carried out by legions of volunteers across the nation.

The project is broken up into three phases. Phase I is about increasing public awareness and completing assessment surveys to be included in a nationwide data bank. Phase II is concerned with finding corporate sponsorship to pay for Phase III, which supports maintenance and conservation for the objects.

A coalition of arts organizations in Oregon state has begun this process. Margo Delk, registrar for the Oregon Arts Commission, leads the project in Oregon. I work with her to fill the volunteer pool for survey assessments, to increase community awareness, and to conduct training seminars for volunteers. The OAC was granted the project in the spring of 1992 and will have until December 1994 for completion.

Locating all of Oregon's outdoor sculpture is one of our greatest concerns. We are doing everything we can think of to locate pieces, including setting up a 1-800 telephone number for statewide spotting and initiating media coverage. Since the project began, we have increased public awareness greatly and we hope that with awareness will come interest, respect, and a concern about the deteriorating historical landmarks and art objects throughout the state.

Telephone calls for information can be directed to the Smithsonian at 1-800-421-1381. Not all 50 states have responded to the call for help from the SOS! project. If we don't step up to this challenge, through neglect and disinterest we will lose parts of our history forever.

Jodie Utter
Conservation Technician
Alice Bear Conservation
P.O. Box 24262
Seattle, Washington 98124

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