Lincoln City Cultural Center
By Niki Price, LCCC Executive Director
Yes, it was an art installation. But here in Lincoln City, the "For the Seventh Generation" pano-mural was also a piece of performance art, a tourist attraction, and a tour of the Pacific Coast. It was a visual discussion of what is temporary and what is permanent, the need for conservation and the role of the artist in our society. For five days in July 2021, John Teply and the Elisabeth Jones Art Center transformed the grounds of the Lincoln City Cultural Center into a vibrant and remarkable outdoor gallery.
When it came to our Oregon Coast town, the pano-mural was nearly 1/3 of a mile long. Attached to temporary fencing, the paintings traveled across the lawns from east to west, north to south, and then north again, with scenes of our own beloved Oregon beaches displayed just a few feet from busy Highway 101. I saw hundreds of reactions, displayed by people on foot, on bikes and in cars - they stared, they pointed, they nudged their companions and smiled at one another. More than once, I was lucky enough to be standing beside a visitor at the very moment of recognition, the instant they saw "their" beach, as rendered by someone else who loves that beach.
The installation of the "For the Seventh Generation" mural was not an easy endeavor for our two small nonprofits. We spent hundreds of collective hours unpacking, hanging, adjusting, explaining and guarding the paintings, through unseasonable wind and cold. But more than once, as I stood amidst these paintings and the constant flow of visitors, I was moved to ponder the familiar phrase "a work of art." The definition has expanded for me. What is art but evidence of work, of human effort, trial and error, persistence? This is not just true of beautiful paintings, but also of temporary art installations, poetry readings and film festivals, all part of the "For the Seventh Generation" project.
At its heart, "For the Seventh Generation" is about work: the crucial task of protecting special places in California, Oregon and Washington, for the next 100 years. We at the Cultural Center were inspired by the founder's call to document and preserve every mile, and to make decisions on behalf of people we will never meet. We intend to be here, a century from now, to host the 2021 pano-mural and celebrate the project's success.
LCCC Executive Director