Architectural Resources Group (ARG) completed initial findings last week on the River of Peace mosaic (Salem Peace Mosaic). In a report for the Salem Public Art Commission, ARG Conservator Payal Vora concluded that the contemporary art work by Lynn Takata, “can be removed and relocated to a different public location without loss of original context or intent.”
The mosaic is on the exterior walls of the Salem Downtown YMCA. The YMCA is scheduled to be demolished in 2019, and to be rebuilt, in part, with $12 million in State of Oregon Lottery monies. Reviewing examples of mosaic art work and relocation techniques nationally, the findings state the mosaic is “a significant piece of public art which can and should be saved.” ARG affirmed the high quality of the work, illustrating in the report mosaic works by Miguel Corvarrublas, Canadian artist Margit Gattterbauer, and twentieth century artists Edward Lewandowski, Winold Reiss and Millard Sheets. Conservator Payal Vora said about relocation, “we believe that this can be successfully accomplished..through careful planning, protection, loading/offloading, transport and reinstallation.” A site for relocation is still to be determined by the City of Salem. State Senator Peter Courtney (D-11) has advocated for protection and relocation of the art work.