The Sisters community is removing hundreds of art pieces along the eastern entrance to town on U.S. Highway 20. It’s to prepare for construction at a nearby intersection later this year, including a roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Locust St.
While designed to make the area safer, it will temporarily take away some of the beauty of the stretch of road for those driving in.
“There must be, I would say, a close to the 1,500 pieces painted,” organizing artist Laura Campbell said. “And they’re painted front and back so that the elementary school kids could see their artwork.”
Most of those pieces now rest in storage, awaiting a new home.
“To not damage the installation, we’ve taken it (the art display) down so they can start construction here in March,” Sisters School District Superintendent Curt Scholl said. “We anticipate sometime over our spring break that they’ll be tearing down the fence and reestablishing the fence for our elementary school so they can start construction.”
Since 2017, the piece has been a defining part of the drive into town from the east.
“This is the main highway, so it’s pretty cool for the kids to have their artwork for the community and also just people driving through our town to see this story of Oregon and the story of our community and how important art is,” Campbell said.
Right after volunteers teamed up to move it to storage last week, Campbell received questions from friends about what’s next.
“They’ve heard that it’s being moved and seeing it being moved and people are really kind of sad to see it go,” she said. “It’s kind of a welcoming to Sisters.”
Don’t worry. The art is in good hands and won’t be gone for long.
“We like the symbolism that gives and shows to the community,” Scholl said. “It’s really a conversation about where we re-install, not that we’re not going to.”
The most likely option for the art’s home is at the new Sisters Elementary School, currently under construction near the middle and high schools on the other side of town.
Campbell says she hopes the city will plan new art in that space after the roundabout is completed to continue welcoming visitors and locals.