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News Release
Damien Gilley, “Arena,” 2021, acrylic polymer and aerosol. Photos by Damien Gilley.
Damien Gilley, “Arena,” 2021, acrylic polymer and aerosol. Photos by Damien Gilley.
New work by Damien Gilley installed at Oregon Institute of Technology's Student Recreation Center (Photo) - 07/27/21

Salem, Oregon -- A geometric mural by Portland artist Damien Gilley, commissioned through Oregon’s Percent for Art in Public Places Program, has been installed in Oregon Institute for Technology’s Student Recreation Center (TechRec).

Titled “Arena,” one immersive site-specific mural designed by Gilley extends the full length of a 75-foot walking corridor along both walls and the ceiling. A second related mural is located at the check-in area of TechRec. The mural design of geometric shapes and lines – painted primarily in a custom-mixed blue – communicates a visual representation of technology while responding directly to the Rec Center site and surrounding environment. The mural transforms the Recreation Center lower-level entrance into a kinetic experience as a person travels through the corridor. The viewer enters through a design reminiscent of a sports arena overhead and progresses through an increasingly energetic visual space that refers to speed and movement. Linear markings of the Rec Center court floor are used to playfully lead the viewer into the arena of athletic experience.

In 2020, Oregon Tech’s three-story 15,800 square foot Student Recreation Center was completely remodeled. The renovations provide a new wood multi-purpose sports court, aerobics/cardio and weight areas, a fitness studio and new locker rooms, an updated main floor lobby and a new coaches’ office area. The Recreation Center facilities are designed as bright and welcoming spaces for students to use independently or for intramural sports.

Guided by Oregon’s Percent for Art Statute, an art selection committee considered the most appropriate artwork for the building. Through a competitive process, the selection committee -- comprised of Oregon Tech faculty, staff, the project architects and local arts professionals and chaired by Renee Couture of the Arts Commission -- selected Gilley to create a site-specific mural for the corridor that connects the check-in area for the Recreation Center to the exterior of the building. Gilley’s artwork proposal aligned with the selection committee’s goals of commissioning an artwork that adds to the innovative and dynamic environment of OIT and the Rec Center, encourages engagement and curiosity, creates a sense of transition and relates to the local setting.

Gilley is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator and art director who makes artwork that creates perceptual moments that transform sites. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at Sharjah Art Museum (United Arab Emirates), Suyama Space (Seattle) and Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (Omaha, Nebraska). His work has been reviewed by Artform, Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, and New York Times Art Beat, among other journals.

The mural is located on the lower level of the Recreation Center on Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus (3201 Campus Drive).

Oregon's Percent for Art in Public Places Program

Oregon was one of the first states in the nation to pass Percent for Art legislation, placing works of art in public spaces throughout the state. Since then, the Percent for Art in Public Places program has maintained a commitment to the placement of permanent art of the highest quality in public places. Committees of local residents across Oregon make selections. The overall collection enhances the state’s public spaces and contributes to our well-recognized quality of life. 

Oregon Arts Commission

The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust.

More information about the Oregon Arts Commission: www.oregonartscommission.org 

Oregon Institute of Technology
Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) is a public university based in Klamath Falls and the Portland metropolitan area. Oregon Tech was originally founded in 1947 as a vocational facility for World War II veterans. Over the years, it changed to a community college, then a four-year technical school, and is now a four-year university with graduate programs. As Oregon’s only polytechnic university, Oregon Tech specializes in engineering, technology, healthcare, business, communication and applied sciences.

View more news releases from Oregon Arts Commission.