The Main Library houses changing exhibitions in spaces on both floors.
Melissa Babcock Saylor
“Young Lady with the Book that has no end”
“I have been to Carrara, Italy twice and have sent home fourteen tons of marble. I have a huge marble yard of blocks in front of my studio. I also have marble from California, Colorado, Utah, Maine, South America and Africa. I believe that I am a teacher, that I am extremely kind and humanistic at my core level. I think that shows up in my work. Anybody who looks at my work feels what I have put into it. They come away with a sense of kindness and humanism. I truly believe that people are kinder to one another after being exposed to my work. Marble takes a very high level of both mental and physical attention. If you’re not at that level physically, you can’t carve. And if your attitude isn’t at a high enough level, you’re going to break the piece. So to be “on” the whole time you’re carving…I like that. It pulls stuff out of me that’s very important.”
To learn more about Mike: http://www.mikeleckie.com/
Watch Oregon Art Beat episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ5XiIRIJn
“All That is Oregon”
A vibrant and engaging artwork highlights the breezy openness of the Main Library. Judi Mintzer’s impressive 6′ X 18′ mural gracing the Library foyer adds a wonderful welcome to the Library as well as to the world that opens to those who ‘travel’ through books. “All That is Oregon” captures the history of our community and the blessings of our surroundings. Children and adults alike delight in pointing out various landmarks and scenes. Recognize the mountain? The lighthouse? Have you seen that bridge before? Explore your Library; explore your community.
Childrens’ Room themed pillars
The nuns did not teach art in the Catholic schools Cheryl French attended in Seattle, so she never knew she had any artistic talent until she was in her 30s. French, of Albany, is now a respected artist who was selected by the Albany Arts Commission to paint bright-colored panels or boxes to place around three columns in the Children’s Room at the Main Albany Public Library. The pillars are themed: Discover stories wild and true, explore places near and far, and wonders great and small. Children are drawn to the colors, shapes, animals, and other intriguing details woven into each scene. Additional decoration has been planned for the remaining pillars in the Children’s Room; stay tuned for the exciting results!
Raymond Hunter and Czarina Gupton
Downtown Carnegie Library
Kings Valley sculptors Raymond Hunter and Czarina Gupton, father and daughter, created the 9- foot tall piece.
The piece is meant to commemorate the work of school teachers and makes references to a child’s education. The sculpture features renditions of books and building blocks, two cornerstones of early childhood education. A dinosaur perched on the blocks recalls children’s toys and the Earth’s prehistoric past. A titanium globe expresses people’s boundless horizons. The roots of a white oak, a tree indigenous to the mid-valley, spill over the educational components of the sculpture, uniting the worlds of nature and human intellect. A radiant sun tops the piece and is meant to be a companion to the sunflower on top of a sculpture in the park at First Avenue and Lyon Street. Hunter also made that sun.
The whole thing is called “Zeki,” which Boock says is “reminiscent of childhood endearments and nicknames while it pays tribute to Semir Zeki, a world leader in neuroesthetics, the science that studies the neural basis of creativity and artistic appreciation.”
The sculpture can be enjoyed on many levels, in Boock’s view: It is at once fun and deeply reflective, he said. Hunter and Gupton used shimmering on the sculpture so as the light changes, the color varies from a pinkish red to a bluish green. The sun’s color goes from the bluish green to a gold color. “Our end goal is to spread joy,” Hunter said.
“Zeki” is a gift of the Wanita Robb Sculptural Trust and the Albany Arts Commission.