Sculptor Heather Söderberg-Greene enriches the area’s art scene with her bronze foundry.

By Chris Baty
Published September 2014

From the raucous First Friday gallery scene in Hood River to Maya Lin’s meditative Bird Blind in Troutdale, the Columbia River Gorge has blossomed into a bona fide arts destination. In 2009, sculptor Heather Söderberg-Greene opened a bronze foundry in Cascade Locks, where her iconic statue of Sacagawea now adorns the port.

Q Is the gorge undergoing an art renaissance?
A Definitely, in all media. Painting. Glassblowing. Pottery kilns. I get a lot of artists visiting my studio to meet other artists, which is exciting.

Q Does the setting inform your art?
A My hiking and explorations in the forest inspire and reenergize me. Watching bald eagles or the salmon run is amazing. I also love the mythology and history of the gorge.

Q Best part of the creative process?
A Sculpting a face. I don’t really control the expression—it just kind of happens. It’s almost like it’s alive.

Q Can art lovers see you in action?
A Yes, I love showing people what I do. They can watch me sculpt, talk to me, and take a foundry tour.

Q Any favorite galleries?
A Lorang Fine Art in Cascade Locks—all local artists. Glassometry Studios shows amazing glass sculpture in Hood River, a town that also has the Columbia Center for the Arts and the Gorge White House, a colonial-style house with local art.

Q Best newcomer?
A Infusion Gallery in Troutdale. It’s partnered with the Adult Learning Systems of Oregon. They have space dedicated to artists with developmental disabilities.

Q Can visitors make their own art?
A Definitely! I teach classes, and Glassometry does classes and workshops. I think that’s part of the excitement about art in the gorge—there are a lot of opportunities for people to come out here and create.

Photography by Shawn Linehan