OTHELLO — A new piece of art has been installed on the Othello High School campus that is meant to represent “the lifeblood of the region.”
The sculpture, dubbed “Undercurrent,” was acquired by OHS via the Washington State Art in Public Places program, as well as the state Art Collection, which encompasses over 4,600 works of art at state agencies, public schools, colleges and universities around Washington. The stainless steel free-standing sculpture, created by artist Aaron Hussey, is meant to reference agriculture and irrigation.
“My initial visit to Othello and the region gave me the time to drive around and make observations,” Hussey said. “From that time spent, I identified what I felt were key features; The first feature that caught my eye was the ‘pivots,’ arched structures used to irrigate the fields. Second were the rows of branches in the orchards (I was there during the dormant season), then the foliage rising from the branches (viewed during my subsequent visit).”
“Finally, the Columbia River and the iron bridges that span the river. These features became my inspiration for the sculpture ‘Undercurrent.’ The built environment and the natural environment coming together with structural presence is a recurring theme in my work.”
Because the Othello School District received state funding for construction at OHS, the district applied for a public art project through ArtsWA, which is under the umbrella of the Washington State Arts Commission. The district created a local art selection committee after getting the award, which considered and analyzed around 100 prospective artists from Washington’s Public Artist Roster for the project.
The district ultimately decided on Hussey for the project and the two groups got together to discuss the piece and what they wanted to see incorporated into it, like agriculture and landscape. The sculpture was installed on the OHS campus earlier this month.