Mosier, OR Overpass Ladders Project- "Agri+Culture"


Mosier Overpass Art

Celebrating Mosier's Tradtition of Small Family Farms

A Proposal for a Freeway Overpass Art Project near Mosier, Oregon

By John Maher


This project will create a visually exciting focal point for travelers on I-84 freeway at the Mosier, Oregon exit while celebrating the rich tradition of fruit growing in the Mosier Valley.  It will invite visitors to pull off the highway and investigate this litle known town.

Ten golden-colored metal fruit ladders and red cherries will be installed on the I-84 freeway overpass to Mosier, Oregon. The ladders will be arranged in a sort of dance along the existing fencing that guards the overpass. This whimsical piece of art will inspire curiosity and give pleasure to travelers driving the I-84 freeway through the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area.  It will also be a wonderful counterpoint to The Dalles overpass art installation, with its Fish and River motif.

The combination of an elegant agricultural tool and the breathtaking natural beauty of the Gorge will be a highlight on the drive through the Gorge.  Mosier won’t be just another exit from the freeway, it will become,  “The place with the cool art ladders on the overpass."  - a place worth exploring.

Mosier Overpass Art Project    

(see photo composite above)

(presented and accepted by Mosier City Council, April 18, 2009)



Why fruit ladders and cherries?

The ladders and cherries celebrate the long tradition of fruit growing in Mosier and Wasco Co.   They are also elegant sculptures, with curving parallel lines (legs) and counterbalancing horizontal steps. Painted gold and displayed in a dance, they will literally rise above their utilitarian nature and become just - cool!  They are also unexpected on a freeway overpass so the element of surprise adds to the impression of whimsy.  In short - they are beautiful and fun at the same time.  Bicycles are another theme that has been suggested for the Est facing side of the overpass.

Why here?

Mosier has a long tradition of fruit growing and recreation. and what better way to celebrate it than a visual centerpiece for all those travelers passing by (and turning off).

How will Mosier and Wasco Co. benefit?

A drive through the Gorge provides vistas of stunning beauty, and drivers are more likely to be watching the view than thinking about the communities they drive by.  This installation will call attention to the uniqueness of our town.   After the installation we’ll be able to say, “Mosier, you know, the place with the cool art ladders on the overpass.”  The project will generate curiosity, which will generate more tourism, which will in turn mean more business in downtown Mosier and Wasco Co. in general.  

Are they safe?

ODOT has very specific safety requirements for anything constructed on an overpass.  This project will have to meet all those safety specifications.  For instance, the ladders will have to be able to withstand 100 MPH winds and have attachments that could only be removed with special tools.

What about graffiti?

The ladders will not be accessible.  There is a small mesh grate between them and the overpass sidewalk so no one will be able reach them after they are installed.

How will they be painted?

We will use a powder coat type of paint, which will be very durable.

How much will it cost?

A rough estimate for total project costs will be under $50,000, including all materials and labor.

Who will pay for this?

ODOT will hopefully be a main funder for this project.  Other funding sources could include, Oregon Arts Commission, N. Wasco Co. PUD., Oregon Cultural Trust, local Fruit Growers Associations and individuals, both art supporters and growers.

Who will be the Project Manager?

John Maher, the project originator.  John has an extensive background in marketing/PR and project management. He has worked with many Fortune 500 companies and is a founder of Gorge Artists and a principal organizer of the annual Gorge Artists Open Studios Tour.


Will the project be promoted?

Yes.  John will  be promoting the project in local and regional media. The installation will provide a hook for promoting the uniqueness of our community.

More visibility may help open the doors for other projects such as any proposed by Main Street Mosier. 

What is the next step?

A grant for ODOT funfs has been applied for and now we ae awaiting public input and a decision from ODOT.

After approval by all the necessary agencies, and funding is in place, the project will begin.

Peny Wallace

John Maher




Below is a desritpion of the Running Fruit Ladders Project 1/09





Celebrating Small Family Farms and Sustainable Agriculture

A large scale art installation of over 100 multi-colored fruit ladders

Coming to the Columbia River Gorge along I-84 between Hood RIver and Biggs in the summer of 2011

This is my new project using art to promote small family farms in the Columbia Gorge region.



In the beginning...there were 100 wooden fruit ladders and an idea for a conceptual art piece....


                                     More to come !!!!!

                                                                                                 Running Fruit Ladders

HomeAbout the ArtistGalleriesScheduleUpshots EditionsNewsletterContact Us

© 2002-2006, Maher Fine Art, All Rights Reserved.

Web Design: eService