The Downtown Camas Association (DCA) officially dedicated the Mill Photo Collage Friday afternoon with a ribbon cutting at the Universal Martial Arts building at the corner of 4th Avenue and Adams.
The collage honors the history of the Camas Paper Mill with original images.
DCA Board President, Caroline Mercury, emceed the event, which was mostly a live-streamed virtual ceremony, providing context about the public art project from concept to construction.
“It’s just our pleasure to dedicate this beautiful photo collage to the city of Camas as a wonderful public art project that the DCA has executed to honor the huge role that the paper mill played in making Camas what it is today.”
Mercury was dressed in a paper dress to honor the occasion and the history. The dress is a replica from a 1940s Paper Festival, which was the precursor to the contemporary annual Camas Days event.
“About four years ago, the design committee at the DCA began incubating the idea for a large-scale mural, collage, of vintage photos from the mill collection, and then entered Anna Fry,” said Mercury.
Former and longtime mill employee Fry was involved in community relations and was the champion of this project through the GP Foundation process.
Big Hook Graphics was the company who put together the giant photo collage following direction from the talented artist, Allan Jeffs.
The Clark County Historical Museum also contributed to the project. Kitchen Electric added dusk to dawn lighting to illuminate the strumming mural. Additional funding came from Riverview Bank and the Clark County Historical Commission.
DCA Executive Director, Carrie Schulstad, explained the collage has a QR code that visitors can scan to get more information. Schulstad thanked Mercury for her daily commitment to making this project come to fruition.
“Her love of the mill is just incredible as you can tell, and we are so lucky to have her in our community,” said Schulstad. “The town is fantastic and it grew up to serve the mill so if you would like to learn more there is a QR code that’s right there on the legend and you can click that and it takes you on a tour of downtown.”
Camas Mayor Barry McDonnell was there, accompanied by the brand-new City Administrator, Jamal Fox.
“Anytime you ask anyone in Camas who has been here for a while they have some sort of connection to the mill, whether they work there, they knew someone that was there … or maybe they just like to catch the toilet paper rolls that get thrown out at the Camas Days parade.”
Following his speech, McDonnell cut the official ribbon.
The photo collage was originally scheduled for its official dedication in April, but due to the pandemic that was delayed.
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