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Where EAST meets the Northwest

INSTALLATION RELOCATION. Artist Michihiro Kosugeís "Contemplative Place" is seen in its new location at Leach Botanical Garden. The art installation has been relocated to the Leach Botanical Garden from its previous location at Ed Benedict Park. A public dedication event is scheduled for Friday, September 6 at 10:30am. (Photo courtesy of the Regional Arts & Culture Council)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #17 (September 2, 2019), page 11.

"Contemplative Place" by Michihiro Kosuge relocated to Leach Botanical Garden

"Contemplative Place," an art installation in Portland by Michihiro Kosuge, has been relocated to the Leach Botanical Garden from its previous location at Ed Benedict Park. A public dedication event is scheduled for Friday, September 6 at 10:30am. Attendees are invited to meet the artist and experience the scale and setting of the basalt stone installation in its new forest setting.

Kosuge, who is known for his sculpture and stone installations throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond, was born in Tokyo and studied sculpture at Tokyo Sumida Technical School of Architecture. After coming to the United States in 1967, he continued to focus on sculpture and earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970. Kosuge moved to Portland in 1978, where he began teaching at Portland State University. He retired in 2003.

In 1996, Kosuge designed and installed "Contemplative Place," a striking set of carved and shaped stones in the northwest corner of Ed Benedict Park in east Portland. It was designed to provide a place where park visitors could sit and quietly contemplate the relationship between the massive basalt blocks and the points of the compass marked by the tallest stones.

The landscaped park setting around the stones worked in concert with the artistís thoughtful layout to foster a sense of quietude and spirituality. The installation was also meant to provide a spot for 911 call operators ó who worked next door in Portlandís Emergency Communications Center ó to decompress when needed.

Unfortunately, changes in traffic volume along Powell Boulevard, in addition to the subsequent, ill-considered placement of a skateboard park directly adjacent to the installation, lead to conditions that worked directly against the artistís intent.

A major renovation of Leach Botanical Garden, which is currently underway, presented an opportunity to relocate the public art to a spot where it can once again serve its original purpose. The wooded grove that "Contemplative Place" now inhabits allows the installation to work in concert with its setting.

The Leach Botanical Garden is located at 6704 S.E. 122nd Avenue in Portland. The public dedication event on September 6 is scheduled to take place in the Upper Garden. Due to current construction, parking is limited to the Creekside parking lot. The dedication site can be accessed using the Manor House entrance. To learn more, call (503) 823-1671 or visit <www.leachgarden.org>.

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