Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Portland Acupuncture Project - Urban Needles

The Portland Acupuncture Project, a 6 month long installation, explores the interface between art, regional planning, traditional Chinese medicine and the health of a city. This project is being sponsored by the OAAOM (Oregon Association of Acupuncture an Oriental Medicine) in concert with the Department of Planning and Stability, METRO, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission and the Northwest Health Foundation.

The artist, Adam Kuby, explains that he uses “…the body as a metaphor for the entire city…hop[ing] to identify those places in the landscape that are important to us as a community, drawing attention not only to the significance of each focal point but also to the interconnectedness of them to each other as well as to ourselves.” The 4 goals of the 35 foot tall needles are to:

create visual links to the “The Portland Plan,” the city's 25 year strategic planning effort happening now
help people connect their own individual bodies and individual health to the health of their city
spotlight the acupuncture profession and generate local & national press coverage
offer acupuncture demonstrations and treatments at various sculpture sites during the installation

City planners hope this instillation will stimulate public discourse about the Portland Plan, a guide for the city’s growth over the next 25 years. The Portland Plan ( HYPERLINK "" examines the challenges we face around education, affordable housing, livability, and environmental sustainability and sets lofty goals to ensure that all these issues are addressed in future planning. The needles will be placed in areas that bring attention to the some of the city's most challenging problems, greatest assets, and enormous potential.

The first 5 needles, made out of super strong, high-tensile steel that is still light enough to be lifted manually, will be placed along the Willamette and the Columbia Rivers. The initial instillations draw attention to these ancient waterways as the reason for Portland's existence, while also pointing to specific challenges and opportunities they are facing today. You can learn more about the artist, the project and the location of all the needle installations at

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