They were still in place in 1999 when I first moved to Portland but for the past 18 years the Friend's of the Lovejoy Columns have been trying to find a way to preserve and find a new home for these historic artworks by Tom Stefopoulos. Stefopoulos was a Greek immigrant who worked for a time at the rail yards that used to be located in the now redeveloped Pearl District and I think it is very important for Portland to preserve its artistic past. The columns appear in the open scenes of Drugstore Cowboy
and even appear in musician Elliot Smith's history.
When the professional artist, Stefopulos saw the colonnade for the one time Lovejoy viaduct to the Broadway bridge he was reminded of his homeland but he also brought his new world pluck and started an elaborate series of scenes depicting Greek myths and his signature bird designs. His work has an instantly identifiable graphic flair known mostly for his signature birds. In a way he may have been the original Portlander to "put a bird on it" and this exhibition at the Hellenic-American Cultural Center and Museum gives wider context to Stefanopoulos' work as a print maker, master calligrapher and idiomatic public artist. Considering the merely "quirky" public works that Portland has put up in the last decade it would be a good thing to see these historic relics from a bygone era be reinstalled in a new home. They tell an immigrant's story, mixed with Americana, Hellenistic references and a general connection to the culture of the railroads before there was a Pearl District and condos. Filmmaker Vanessa Renwick even has a related video piece in the show so come on out and get caught up on what has been and can be still done.
Master Penworks of Tom Stefanopoulos | July 9 2013 - April 30th 2014
Reception: March 29, 3:30 - 6:00 PM
Hellenic-American Cultural Center and Museum
2nd Floor Greek Orthodox Church
3131 NE Glisan
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