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Celebrate Oregon! , Cultural trust mural, medford murals, airport mural, artistry, oregon cultural trust
By Emily Hunter | 01/06/2022 | Art Galleries, Museums & History, Outdoor Adventure, Things to Do

THE CELEBRATE OREGON! MURAL

You might have seen a beautiful new addition to Medford’s airport. From a distance, the “Celebrate Oregon!” Cultural Trust mural is a vibrant tapestry of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Look closer, and the 127 symbols unearth stories of bright history and heritage. From award-winning food and wine, to the glorious hiking and biking scene, here are a few hidden messages you might’ve missed.

A testimony to how much Oregonians value culture, the Oregon Cultural Trust was created in 2001 to provide funding for artists and creators around the state. Established by the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Cultural Trust currently works with over 1,600 nonprofits45 county and tribal Cultural Coalitions, and other vibrant cultural bounties across the state.

Oregonians fund the Cultural Trust. They, in turn, fund the artists, potters, rappers, acrobats and dreamers who make Oregon, Oregon. From Burns to Astoria, every year Oregonians support the Trust through generous matching gifts to fuel Oregon culture. In 2019, Oregonians gave $4.5 million to the Cultural Trust! After donations from Oregonians and statewide partners, artists of all kinds apply for the Trust's three competitive Cultural Development Grants.

An integral part of communities everywhere, the Trust inspires Oregonians to take part and pride in supporting their local creators. No other state provides a 100 percent tax credit to inspire cultural giving. As uniquely Oregonian as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust provides an ongoing funding engine to support all facets of arts and culture.

For accurate historical depictions and storytelling, artists and designers were nominated by a diverse group of 33 individuals representing Oregon’s artistic and design community. Each nominator was invited to forward the creative brief to artists or designers they felt might be interested. After receiving 36 total submissions of interest, a diverse jury evaluated and recommended 20 artists be invited to submit preliminary concepts in exchange for a $250 honorarium.

After receiving several concepts, an expanded jury evaluated each one based on criteria derived from the creative brief. Unanimously recommended to the Cultural Trust Board of Directors, Liza Burns' design was selected and approved in October.

Frequently meeting with several content experts identified through the Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Burns was able to create and finalize symbols included in the design.

Capturing “Oregon Culture” in a single piece is an extraordinary challenge as Oregon is a diverse and beautiful arrangement of many cultures, each with their own subcultures and nuances. This abundance became the foundation of the piece.

The longer you look at the mural, the more your eyes will come to see. A unique place to dinehike and play, Medford’s culture is filled with diversity. This extraordinary fact is what inspired artist Liza Burns to create a patchwork design - focusing on the abundance of cultures, big and small. Beginning with the unique and diverse landscape, the overlay of the mural features the river valleys, mountains and high deserts of the region. Second, a concept of “symbol overlay” was developed in order to take viewers on a journey of discovery, and foster the idea of an ever-evolving culture.

Celebrate Oregon! , Cultural trust mural, medford murals, airport mural, artistry, oregon cultural trust, liza burns

Liza Burns is an illustrator, muralist and designer based in Eugene, Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University and an Associate Degree in Graphic Design from Lane Community College. After graduating from BU, Burns lived and worked in Los Angeles where she painted her first large-scale mural at Blue Cow Kitchen in downtown Los Angeles. Her mural art now appears in restaurants, shops, businesses and office buildings across Oregon, California, Texas and Connecticut. As a child she was deeply inspired by the work of Graeme Base (illustrator and author of books like “Animalia” and “The Eleventh Hour”), where she found a love and respect for art that tells a secret story that can only be unraveled by taking your time.

What do hiking destinations, live performances and award-winning food all have in common? They are all part of Southern Oregon’s rich cultural history! Click here to follow along on the interactive map, and click on any of the 127 key numbers to learn more about what each one represents.

First unveiled in the Medford Airport (MFR), the Oregon Cultural Trust mural and license plate serve as opportunities to experience the region and all its different attributes. You can view the mural next to the arrival section of the airport on your next visit, and see the new license plate around the state as you cruise downtown. Continue reading to discover the featured southern Oregon symbols, and learn about all of the symbols included with the interactive map.

Did you know that Harry and David was founded in Medford? A nationally renowned pear and chocolate hub, Harry and David is famous for it’s lovely gift towers, local’s favorite “Moose Munch” and hand-picked freshness guarantee. The company has blessed the Rogue Valley for over 110 years, making the symbol of the pear iconically known throughout the valley. It is only fitting that a symbol of the pear be proudly displayed in the mural. You can find it in the upper, left sky section, and taste Harry and David for yourself in the Heart of the Rogue Valley.

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A cheese connoisseur? Try 10 minutes from Medford, where the World’s Best Cheese, Rogue River Blue, resides at the famous Rogue Creamery. Awarded in 2019 at the World Cheese awards in Italy, Rogue Creamery is a famously organic company you won’t want your taste buds to miss out on.

Sitting along the Artisan Corridor, you can pair your cheese with award-winning wine from Ledger David Cellars, or home-made chocolate from Lillie Belle Farms. Spend an afternoon enjoying incredible artisan goods, and truly experience why Rogue Creamery’s cheese symbol is proudly displayed in the top left section of the Cultural Trust mural.

Celebrate Oregon! , Cultural trust mural, medford murals, airport mural, artistry, oregon cultural trust, interactive key number, photo, pinot noir, grapes, wine country

Climate, soil, craft and culture create the perfect storm for world class wine. Named a “Top Ten Global Wine Destination” by Forbes Magazine in 2019, the Rogue Valley has a multitude of different wines to enjoy. Safely tucked into the Klamath, Coastal and Cascade Mountain ranges, the valley’s bowl allows for a multitude of varietals you are sure to enjoy. In warmer climates, grapes produce Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Tempranillo and Viognier. While the cooler climate varietals include Oregon’s famous Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. With a different varietal for everyone, you can see why a Pinot Noir and grape symbol are each displayed in the mural.

Celebrate Oregon! , Cultural trust mural, medford murals, airport mural, artistry, oregon cultural trust, interactive key number, photo, hiking

When you travel to the Rogue Valley, the possibilities of adventure are endless. With beautiful views of the valley on the Table Rocks, 1,740 acres of hiking and biking trails on Prescott Park, and the ever-enchanting Pearsony Falls, Medford is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

Not to mention, Oregon’s only National Park, Crater Lake, lies just 50 miles from Medford. The national treasure has some of the most breathtaking views you will experience, and several activities and things to do all year-round.

With an endless amount of hiking locations, escaping into the beauty of the region is not difficult. Find the iconic hiking boot in the upper left hand of the mural, and lace up yours to enjoy the rawness of the valley!

Celebrate Oregon! , Cultural trust mural, medford murals, airport mural, artistry, oregon cultural trust, interactive key number, photo, theater

Boasting world-class productions and performances, Medford and the Rogue Valley showcase some of the best live performances on the West Coast.

Nestled into downtown Medford, enjoy a Broadway, ballet or cabaret performance at the Craterian Theater. The theater features incredible acoustics, and an intimate seating limit of 750 patrons.

Often called the Broadway of the West Coast, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is one of the region's biggest attractions, boasting multiple Tony Awards and accolades. TIME named it as one of the top five regional theater companies in the country, with 11 world-class  productions by classical and contemporary playwrights, crafted by some of the biggest talents in theater today.

Britt's performance venue is a naturally formed amphitheater set among majestic  ponderosa pines and native madrones. Located in the historic 1850s gold rush town of Jacksonville, Britt presents dozens of summer concerts. Concerts feature a variety of different world-class artists presenting multiple different genres, including classical music, jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, world, pop and country music.

With an abundance of art and culture throughout the valley, inspiration and opportunity abound in Southern Oregon. When you look at the Cultural Trust mural, you will find a classic theater symbol in the top left corner, displaying the incredible feats of the arts around the valley.

Celebrate Oregon! , Cultural trust mural, medford murals, airport mural, artistry, oregon cultural trust

A unique destination to dinehike and play, discover the diverse culture of Oregon and the Rogue Valley! Get started planning your vacation in the Heart of the Rogue by viewing our Visitor Guide online, and learn more about the abundance of culture in Oregon on the Interactive, License Plate Key Narrative.

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