Public Art for Washougal created by Women Who Weld to be unveiled June 19

June 15, 2012

Future Steamboat Landing placement


–by Martha Martin

Unveiling of Sculpture “Earth” at the Port of Camas-Washougal

A kinetic metal sculpture created by Women Who Weld member Sharon Agnor will be unveiled following the June 19 Port commission meeting.

Partnering with the City of Washougal Parks Department and a new local arts group, Washougal Arts and Cultural Association (WACA), the Port will feature the sculpture in its lobby for public viewing.  It will be on display for three months.

The public is invited to attend, and Suzanne Grover (City of Washougal), and Janice Ferguson (WACA) will both speak between 6pm and 6:30pm.

Plans are being developed for continued fund raising for three additional pieces, and to display the art work in other locations until permanently installed.

Women Who Weld – Their story

According to Kathy Wilson, a member of Women Who Weld, the group  originally met at the newly offered Welded Sculpture program at Clark College in 2000.

As they learned to fire up  oxy/acetylene torches and sheer sheets of steel, they experienced a growing bond.

“We marveled at the artwork that grew at each other’s welding stations” said Kathy.

Their camaraderie sparked luncheons which deepened into friendships and support.

It was at one such luncheon that they dubbed themselves Woman Who Weld and decided to find a venue to host a group show of their new sculptures.

Their first show was at the library of WSU-Vancouver.

From that showcame a contract to create a memorial sculpture for a WSU professor, Lori Irving.   “Pillars of Fulfillment” was dedicated in 2003.

In 2005 the City of Vancouver commissioned them to create a monument that commemorates the women who worked in the Kaiser Shipyards during WWII.  Standing on Vancouver’s waterfront not far from where the shipyards once operated, the collaborative piece “Wendy Rose” was dedicated in 2008.

Women Who Weld participated in several other shows during their first years together. Now members individually pursue projects, but they continue to meet periodically to see each other’s work, encourage project endeavors and praise their successes.

Public Art for Steamboat Landing

Suzanne Grover, City of Washougal Parks Department, approached Women Who Weld to create a work of art for Steamboat Landing.  “I saw lots of opportunity for artistic expression that could beckon Washougal’s heritage and resonate with its people”, said Suzanne.

Women Who Weld Elements sculpures

Women Who Weld visited Steamboat Landing Park, and noted that  atop the dock pilings seemed a perfect place for four individual pieces of art; one by each Vancouver member, that together would form a cohesive whole.

The theme of the 4 elements seemed to be a fit, because of the exposure the park has to all of the land, water, lots of wind coming from the gorge, and the fire that powered the old steam boats that originally landed here.

Jennifer Corio found herself getting more and more inspired by the beautiful metal smoke stacks on the old steam ships,  which were the inspiration for her element FIRE.   An idea was born that the pieces high atop the pilings would emulate the old steam stacks, further paying tribute to Washougal’s history.

During the spring floods of 2011 when the docks came within a few feet of the top of the pilings, it became obvious that they wouldn’t be an ideal place to locate the art pieces.  There was the additional complexity and cost of installing them.  The location was changed, and they will now be located atop reused telephone poles, still in the park but along the walkway for people to enjoy as they approach the viewing platform.

The four pieces will be “Earth” by Sharon Agnor,  “Wind” by Kathy Wilson,    “Fire” by Jennifer Corio, and “Water” by Wendy Armstrong.

Sculptures to be placed at Steam Boat Landing near  improved ADA access trail

Possible position for sculpture near Steamboat Landing (contributed photo)

The City of Washougal Parks Department currently plans to draft alterations to Steamboat Landing Park that improve ADA accessibility  from the top of the levee to the Steamboat Landing Park observation deck. The City of Washougal recently completed a topographical survey of the site, which will assist in plotting the accessible route.

Developing a serpentine path reduces the slope to 8.3% and covers the path with an approved surface.  The observation deck will also receive configuration and aesthetic improvements.

The Washougal Park Board agreed that Steamboat Landing Park provides an appropriate location for the Broughton memorial replica.  The original monument once rested in Oregon’s Vista House overlooking Washougal. The State of Oregon offered the opportunity to duplicate the piece and the memorial plaque, now complete, is currently at Washougal City Hall.  It will eventually be positioned next to the observation deck for those gazing toward Mt Hood and the Gorge.

Mingled with accessibility improvements, the “Elements” kinetic art project, created by Women Who Weld, will embellish the path from the levee down to the observation deck.

This year, Washougal resident Shirley Scott sponsored the earth element. This will be the first sculpture to be placed.  The remaining donated funds balance was spent on materials for the bases for the four art pieces.

A New Washougal Art Group

From left to right; Shirley Scott, who purchased the Earth Element sculpture, Joyce Lindsay, Washougal City Council member, Suzanne Grover, City of Washougal Liaison, and Janice Ferguson, co-founder of WACA (photo Martha Martin)

Partnering with the City of Washougal Parks Department is a new local group call the Washougal Arts & Cultural Association (WACA).  Janice Ferguson is a founding member, and is spearheading the unveiling event being held at the Port of Camas-Washougal for the Women Who Weld sculpture “Earth”.

WACA recently made a presentation to the Clark County Arts Commission.  They were impressed with the Women Who Weld project, and wrote a letter of support for WACA and their efforts to continue with this project.

At this time, a partnership with the Clark County Parks Foundation has been established, and donations may be made toward the purchase of the other sculptures by visiting their website HERE.  As a non-profit, all donations are tax deductible.

For more information on the project contact:

Janice Ferguson, Washougal Arts & Cultural Association( WACA) member 835-2892

Suzanne E Grover city liaison, email:, or 360-835-2662 ext. 207.