Quick, where’s the Walla Walla Foundry?
No doubt you answered that pretty easily–Walla Walla, Washington.
But what noted artists—and by “noted” I mean huge, big identities on the national arts scene—have former and/or ongoing projects there?
(This is akin to discovering Banksy! Which I did when I saw Exit Through the Gift Shop. I only admit this because a friend, David Swift, also did not know Banksy before seeing the film. Nobody’s hipper than Dave. Maybe he’s faking not knowing and he is, in fact, Banksy.)
Walla Walla is home to Whitman College. The foundry was established in 1980 by Mark Anderson, a 1978 Whitman College grad. When a friend sent me a link to a story about the foundry, I was stunned by its list of working artists. Boy, did I feel silly. For those of you not familiar with the foundry, this post is a primer.
According to The Pioneer, Whitman’s newspaper, the foundry’s roster includes local, regional, national and international artists. It’s also responisible for much of the sculpture found on Whitman’s campus and in Walla Walla. Anderson says the place is so busy many students have a hard time accessing all its facilities. The foundry, notes Anderson, has enriched both campus and town over the years. Surfing around–looking for info on Anderson–I found a pdf article on Whitman’s phenomenal sculpture garden, with works created at the foundry. Bronzes, totems, and stone works are stitched into chain of outdoor sculptures, a beautifully landscaped arts experience.
Visit the foundry website, and you can get a jump on projects yet to be completed and installed. Lin is at work on a 70 foot tall stainless steel and bamboo bell tower, to be installed in Shantou, China. Smith has various works in progress; imagery includes Smith’s portraiture of women, abstract, spore-like floral shapes and birds. Thomas Houseago’s massive bronze Sprawling Octopus Man appears on the foundry’s home page and measures 101″ x 84″ x 60″. The foundry even has its own vineyard.
Images are courtesy Walla Walla Foundry and The Pioneer.