Mark Smith: Howard Hall
John R. Howard Hall, located at the heart of the academic campus for Lewis & Clark’s College of Arts and Science, represents the first time in the College’s history that a commitment to art was made in the construction budget. The College and the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) invited artists and artist teams from the Northwest and British Columbia to submit proposals for the Howard Hall Public Art Project. Nearly 100 proposals were submitted to RACC, three semi-finalists were reviewed by Art Committee, and Portland artist Mark R. Smith was selected in October 2002.
Over the past decade, Smith has deeply explored issues of organic and natural elements juxtaposed with inorganic and human-made processes, all of this in the context of historic time passage. The work installed at Howard Hall is a culmination of concepts that have obsessed Smith for several years.
For Smith, the Howard Hall Art Project is the result of a two-year-long dialogue with members of the Lewis & Clark community and Smith’s own communion with the College environment, an idyllic and historic property on the fringe of the urban core. Smith asked members of the Lewis & Clark community to participate in the project by donating materials such as fabric, newspapers, and small objects for the installation. He said he hoped that, as a result, the College community would leave its imprint on the work and reinforce Howard Hall’s emphasis on environmental consciousness.