In Cannon Beach, an artful display of democracy

The people know what they like, so why not hold a vote?
Crosscut archive image.

A Foot in the Door by Jason Warner of Bremerton, Wash., at a beach access path in Cannon Beach, Ore. (Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett)

The people know what they like, so why not hold a vote?

No voter apathy over in Cannon Beach, Ore., that's for sure. Ballot boxes were smokin' this past weekend as locals and visitors voted for their favorite among six pieces of public art. The City of Cannon Beach, along with the Cannon Beach Arts Association, Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Cannon Beach Gallery Group joined forces to launch this clever contest, seeking entries, narrowing them to six, and displaying each in its own mapped spot in this very walkable little burg-by-the-sea. The six finalists are all striking pieces that look right at home in the artsy downtown, where they will remain for a year. The People's Choice award carries a $15,000 prize for the artist. Ballots will be handed out and collected next Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13, as well, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. These folks might be on to something. What if all Northwest cities placed a public-art choice on the regular ballots? Who knows? People who otherwise forget, ignore, or misplace their mail-in ballots (or couldn't find the polling place with a compass and trail of bread crumbs) might be more attentive if some really big public art was on the line. Well, maybe.


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