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Dancing Chairs

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by James Schmidt

Image of  Dancing Chairs from the westCreation: 2009
Medium: Stainless Steel
Discipline: Sculpture
Dimensions: 34' x 12' x 5'
Location: 53rd Avenue Community Park, 300 NE 53rd Avenue, Hillsboro, OR 97124
Exhibition: Permanent

In January 2010, the HACC put out a call for its first public art installation in an effort to re-purpose an underutilized fountain on City of Hillsboro property. The public art panel chose the sculptures of local artist James Schmidt, as his whimsical, animated chair sculptures seemed to be a perfect fit with the location on 2nd and Washington.

Dancing Chairs captured the imagination with its quirky take on a common object, and in 2014 they were purchased to become part of the Hillsboro Public Art Collection and placed at 53rd Avenue Community Park, a popular city park.

Artist Schmidt said, “These ‘dancing chairs’ are an abstraction of ourselves. The chair is an object fashioned for our own body and given names like a back, seat, arms, legs, etc. It is even designed to mold our body. I animated these four versions of a chair, and they are set to look as if they are choreographed to dance together both day and night.”

Image of Dancing Chairs at 53rd Ave. Community ParkArtist Bio:
James Schmidt has worked exclusively as a metal sculptor and artist for the last 40 years. After receiving his Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the University of Oregon, he moved to New York and built a successful business creating public and privately commissioned artwork, and exhibiting in galleries. He also worked for museums, architects, interior designers, and other artists to fabricate pieces. In 1994, he moved back to Oregon and has since established a solid local reputation both as a fabricator for other artists and as a sculptor in his own right.

As Dancing Chairs shows, Schmidt likes to disassemble everyday objects and find new ways of putting them back together. He notes, “We all share a common expectation as to the functionality of an object. Deconstructing parts and rearranging them, or adding other objects as if they were part of the original intent, creates a new object.”

Many will recognize the original bus shelter he created for the Hillsboro Main Library which has become a beloved icon on Brookwood Parkway.

Artist Website:

Lower photo by Rick Paulson.