The Portland Public Art Committee has launched a new website in an attempt to educate people about the city’s public art collection.
The all-volunteer committee will host a party at 8 p.m. Wednesday at East End Beach to launch the website, publicartportland.org.
“This is part of our long-term effort to make the Public Art Committee more linked in with the city and with the people who come to the city,” said committee Chair Lin Lisberger.
Wednesday’s gathering will include entertainment and a discussion about the website and the role of public art in the community. Also planned is a discussion of new guidelines for temporary public art installations. The rain date is Thursday.
The website, which went live this week, includes photos of the 28 pieces in the city’s public art collection, including sculptures, monuments and memorials. Each piece is accompanied by a short description.
There’s also an interactive map that allows people to tailor their own walking tours. The website is designed to function with cellphones and other hand-held devices.
Eventually, each piece of public art will be labeled with a quick-response code, which people will be able to scan for a succinct summary of information about the piece, Lisberger said.
The committee has been under scrutiny for the past couple of years because of some controversial pieces of public art. A few of its projects have drawn strong public resistance, including the sculpture “Tracing the Fore” at Boothby Square, which was removed because of complaints about its appearance.
On Monday, the committee announced that it had canceled a bench project for the Bayside Trail because of an increase in its cost. The unconventional designs of the benches and their price tags, estimated at $42,500, brought public ridicule.
The timing of the website’s launch is unrelated to the decision to cancel the bench project, Lisberger said. “We’ve been working on this quite a long time,” she said.
Also Monday, the committee announced that it has accepted a long-term loan of Jay Sawyer’s “A Spirit of Its Own,” to be displayed on the access road of the Portland International Jetport.
The 5-foot sphere, which will be on loan from the Davistown Museum in Liberty, was created from steel shear rings salvaged from the Brunswick Naval Air Station. It will be installed in the fall. The duration of its time at the airport is undetermined.
Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at: