By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The first piece of Keizer’s newest public art offering is up.

Jim Johnson’s “Praise” was placed recently at Keizer Plaza. [MAP: 6]

It is one of five new sculptures; the rest will be placed soon as part of a public art program sponsored by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, the Keizer Art Association and Artists in Action.

Jim Johnson is a Eugene artist. He said a smaller version of “Praise” is at a church in Lake Oswego. The Keizver version stands 5 feet, 6 inches tall and is placed on a pedestal.

“I first started using cast bronze faces and hands on small sculpture so I could make larger pieces less expensively,” Johnson told the Keizertimes. “The cost of having a mold made and then the cast piece has gotten expensive. My thought was to make detailed parts and the rest more suggestive with less detail.”

Sculptures were selected by a committee from Artists in Action. Artists are paid a $500 stipend to display their art for the year.

Christine Dieker, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, said the artwork has garnered interest both from art lovers wanting to buy them and businesses that want one in front of their store.

More sculptures are expected in front of Creekside Shopping Center, Inland Shores and Sonic.

At least one – “Sheenie” by Jesse Swickard – will remain up through this phase of the program, Dieker said.

The program is supported almost entirely by private dollars, Dieker said, via the Winter Art Solstice and individual donations made to the Keizer Chamber Foundation.