Public Art Walking Tour
Cannon Beach’s reputation as one of the top art towns in America isn’t only about the city’s galleries. You’ll find public art installations and creative architectural details throughout the town. This walking tour will take you on a self-guided excursion to see most of them while pointing out some of the most artistic architectural details you’ll find along the way. The walk, as described, is about 1.5 miles.
Start your Cannon Beach public art walking tour at the corner of Spruce and 2nd Street in front of the public restrooms.
This stainless-steel construction by Sharon Warman Agnor is a modern interpretation of waves featuring subtle colors. Looking across the street, take note of some of the artistic architectural details on the Information Center building. The chimney cap is an osprey nest. Jellyfish lamps light the entrance, and downspouts pay homage to native American art. Now proceed across 2nd street, then Spruce Street, and walk north. Passing Northwest By Northwest Gallery, you’ll see a red metal sphere by Ivan McLean, and the gallery doors are one of a kind, created by glass artist Duane Dahl. Continue north on Spruce, cross 3rd Street, and the corner of East 3rd St.
Lining the sidewalk in front of the small public parking lot is an installation of weather-rusted metal ribs with circular glass insets created by Nick Thomas Design Studio. Now follow East 3rd Street east as it turns 90 degrees left and becomes Fir Street, walking past the old Cannon Beach Elementary School, now NeCus’ Park. Just before the bridge, walk west on the bark trail to the beach access at the edge of Ecola Creek.
This wooden sculpture is inspired by the original Clatsop-Nehalem tribe, who lived in a small village called NeCus’ along this creek bank when Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery passed this way in 1806. Native American artist Guy Capoeman carved this welcome pole. Continue along the bark trail through a small wooded area, emerging at Spruce Street. Continue to the corner, turning right on 3rd Street, and proceed to Whale Park, where the street turns south to become Hemlock Street.
The focal point of this small park is a bronze whale sculpture commemorating the visit of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery in 1806 when they traveled to this area to find a whale that was reported to have washed ashore. Clark named the nearby creek Ecola, the native term for "whale." Cross Hemlock Street and walk south as you enter the heart of downtown Cannon Beach. Turn left up the pathway at Coastal Yarns, where the courtyard features a bronze sculpture of a seal by renowned Northwest sculptor Georgia Gerber. Pass through the courtyard to the south (Windermere Real Estate) to find a colorful mural by Rumi Tsuda depicting Cannon Beach scenes. Return to Hemlock Street and use the crosswalk to continue south. Check out the sculptural fountain in the courtyard of The Landing complex and then continue, crossing West 1st Street, where you can see the whimsical, fantasy-like building that is home to Steidel’s Art. Now cross Hemlock Street, walking east.
A Delicate Balance
The whimsical and colorful sculpture can be seen just off the corner featuring stacked chickens and eggs by sculptor Wayne Chabre. Walk north along the east side of Hemlock as you leave the core of the downtown commercial area and continue for a half mile to midtown Cannon Beach to the corner of South Hemlock and Coolidge Avenue.
Northwest sculptor Georgia Gerber created a pair of bronze nuzzling Tufted Puffins. Use the crosswalk across Hemlock Street toward the public restrooms.
The cut steel bright orange bench formed by two figures reaching toward each other was created by artist Alise A. Looney.
Two other public art pieces are not on this walking tour but are worth finding. Fisherman’s Dance is a collection of three modern carved wooden totems by Steve Jensen on East Sunset Boulevard near Reservoir Road. In the northeast corner of the Tolovana Park wayside is a stone and metal sculpture, Salmon Journey, by Native American artist Lillian Pitt and Aaron Loveitt.
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