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Art Unveiled at Skagit Valley College

Faculty and students gathered in the windy plaza of Skagit Valley College’s Oak Harbor campus Dec. 5 to witness the unveiling of the school’s first piece of public art.

With a flourish helped along by the brisk wind whipping off the harbor, sculptor Brad Rude removed the covering from his creation.

Entitled, “Motion of Life,” the cast bronze piece features a wagon wheel made of sticks, with a circle of animals marching around the perimeter.

Rude calls the piece “a dialogue between species,” with human observers interacting with the animal characters. The more one looks at the piece, the more there is to see, he explained.

The Walla Walla artist was selected by an art committee under the auspices of the state Art in Public Places program.

The Washington State Arts Commission program designates a small percentage — one half of 1 percent — of the cost of construction of public buildings to fund a piece of art to grace the finished structure.

“Motion of Life” sits in front of the recently completed $9 million campus addition, Oak Hall. Not all of that amount is included in the art calculation, as that also includes furnishings and equipment.

Rude is one of about 150 artists in the state resource bank that is used to select artists for the program. He has done two other projects for the state, a sculpture at Central Washington University, and one at Alki Middle School in Vancouver, Wash.

“Once you do a good job they keep having you back,” he said.

Mick Donahue, Skagit Valley College Whidbey Island Campus vice president, said the committee was immediately impressed with Rude’s portfolio, and even more impressed when they met him.

“The minute he walked in we just knew he was going to be a fit.”

In addition to the $33,000 commission, Rude received a Skagit Valley College sweatshirt and aluminum coffee mug.

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