Public art project for Workforce Education Center begins

Font Size: Larger /Smaller

Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center

Photo courtesy of Brian Borrello Studio: Brian Borrello’s sculpture at the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center, Kuwait City, Kuwait

MOSES LAKE — As construction on the new Workforce Education Center continues, plans for another notable building feature have been given the green light. The college recently approved Portland artist Brian Borrello’s designs for two sculptures that will flank either side of the main entrance to the building.

Borrello is the artist behind sculptures at various Portland MAX Light Rail stations. He also acted as art director and fabricator for the Bloch Cancer Survivors’ Plaza in New Orleans and has a sculpture at the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center (SAASC), Kuwait City, Kuwait.

The WEC project falls under the Washington State Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places Program (AIPP), which purchases and cares for art in state buildings, colleges, universities and schools throughout Washington. Currently, the state art collection includes nearly 5,000 pieces of varying materials, sizes and styles.

Whenever Washington constructs a new building, the commission reserves one-half of one percent of the state’s cost for art. They then work with local committees to help them select an artist, review designs and approve the final proposal.

The Big Bend committee tasked with carrying out this process was a diverse group, representing various areas on campus. They originally reviewed the work of 56 artists, before narrowing it down to 16 and then ultimately selecting Borrello.

Borrello is a visual artist, designer, educator and public artist based in Portland. He received a Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University, with post-graduate work in architectural engineering.

Borrello is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship award, and his artwork has been featured in galleries in Portland, New Orleans and New York.

He also runs a neon lighting design and fabrication facility.

Borrello said he drew inspiration for his sculptures from the tumbleweeds and sagebrush he observed while on a trip through the area.

“I wanted this to be of the landscape, something that felt right,” he said. “The tumbleweed grows, cuts itself off and rolls off to colonize new spaces. As I drove through the area, I saw my sculptures fitting right in, and being part of things here.”

Borrello plans to start the fabrication process over the winter months, with installation set for late spring.

brian borrello in his workshop

Photo courtesy of Brian Borrello Studio