Measuring in at 14-foot by 25-foot, “What Moves Us” is a mural installation consisting of three distinct 7-foot-tall gold bodies in positions that suggest suspension. Each body is ringed by 10 circles that upon closer inspection are portrait heads, all set against a blue and grey gradient background. The mural embodies the transformational power and inspirational force generated through the integrated learning environment at Oregon State University-Cascades’ Edward J. Ray Hall (Ray Hall).
“The installation celebrates scientific inquiry as an evolving process centered on humanity’s curiosity and compassion,” said the mural’s artist, Samantha Wall. “Creativity is an engine for change and drives innovation not just in the arts, but throughout all fields of study. It’s within an intermingling of disciplines that we find inspiration.”
Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Wall immigrated to the United States as a child. Wall received her BFA from the University of South Carolina and her MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.
Ray Hall serves the STEAM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Ray Hall’s building model leverages the unique topography and high desert setting, creating dynamic indoor and outdoor spaces which provide for an adaptable internal framework for the university’s expanding and evolving academic programs.
Commissioned through Oregon’s Percent for Art in Public Places Program, which is managed by the Oregon Arts Commission, and guided by Oregon’s Percent for Art statute, an art selection committee considered the most appropriate artwork for the building.
Through a competitive process, the selection committee – composed of OSU-Cascades faculty, staff, project architects, landscape design lead and local arts professionals and chaired by Percent for Art in Public Places project manager Ryan Burghard – selected Wall to create a site-specific mural for the top of a central staircase leading from the building’s atrium.
“Commissioning an artwork that would embrace change and growth as a core concept was one of the goals our committee hoped to achieve through this process. We sought proposals that would represent the confluence of disciplines in Ray Hall and inspire innovative and creative exchange,” said Burghard.
Oregon was one of the first states in the nation to pass Percent for Art legislation, placing works of art in public spaces throughout the state. Since then, the Percent for Art in Public Places program has maintained a commitment to the placement of permanent art of the highest quality in public places. Committees of local residents across Oregon make selections. The overall collection enhances the state’s public spaces and contributes to our well-recognized quality of life.
Wall’s projects have been exhibited at the Hangaram Art Museum in the Seoul Arts Center, CUE Art Foundation in New York and Portland Art Museum, as well as in exhibition spaces in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Frankfurt. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including an MFA Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, a Golden Spot Residency Award at Crow’s Shadow Institute for the Arts, and the Arlene Schnitzer Prize at the Portland Art Museum.