Oregon Sculpture Trail Project Gets Fitting Finale

Jun 6, 2016

Cornball. Solar Reef. SoyPod. These are just a few of the names of the sculptures around Oregon, Illinois.

An arts group in the city has been behind an effort to produce ten sculptures in ten years. The final piece is ready.

The next jewel in the crown of the Community Art Legacy sculpture trail features John Phelps, the founder of Oregon. 

Credit Nicole Shenberger / WNIJ

The "10 in 10" project was the brainchild of Betty and Richard Adams and their son Jeff, who owns a local foundry. Jeff Adams says it follows in the words of famed sculpture Lorado Taft who once said, "the hometown is the dearest place on Earth, why not make it more beautiful?"

“It plants the seed and where it will go from here, who knows? This is the end of our part of that legacy,” Jeff Adams said.

His mother says it’s been a community effort from fundraising to landscaping.

"We just hope that other people will come up with ideas to enhance the arts. If we do that, it brings people here, and it helps our economy locally,” Betty Adams said.

Her husband, Richard Adams, died in 2014 and won’t get to see the final piece. Son Jeff says the final sculpture would have been just the beginning for him.

“He’d be thrilled, he’d want to see signs on the highway directing people to all of the sculptures. That was one of the projects he worked on. He just couldn’t quite pull that off.” Jeff Adams said.

“He was a visionary, and he would be looking down the road to how this can benefit the community and  where it can go.”

This particular sculpture was created by Steven Carpenter of Maine. His brother Craig, who lives locally, is a walking Wikipedia on Oregon’s founder John Phelps.

“[Phelps] was really an amazing guy. A real pioneer in kind of the Davy Crockett mode almost. If he had a better publicist, (laughs) I think he could have made it in that category.”

The sculpture features Phelps near a boat along a river surrounded by trees and wildlife.

The dedication is scheduled for June 18th. The sculpture sits near the Coliseum building just off Oregon’s downtown.