Bits 'n' Pieces: Couple's sculpture rises to the occasion, secures place in park

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Cobalt Designworks, run by Vancouver couple Dave Frei and Jennifer Corio, can add another colorful landmark to their growing "gallery." Their sculpture "Rise" won the People's Choice Award and $20,000 from Puyallup's Arts Downtown organization, which runs the city's Outdoor Gallery. Corio is responsible for the sculpture's design while Frei brought the piece to reality in steel and powder coat. "Rise" stands 9 feet tall, including the pedestal, and took two months to build.

"My design style tends to be clean lines and curves in all the right places," Corio said.

"Rise" was especially meaningful to Corio, embodying the idea of a person's inner potential. "It was often referred to as the angel; it's angelic in presence but human in nature," she said.

The red color signifies blood, with an open space near the sculpture's "heart," which goes straight to its core, representing human vulnerability, Corio said.

Puyallup's Outdoor Gallery puts 18 sculptures on display for a two-year period. The nonprofit adds the public's favorite to the permanent gallery, which now includes 43 pieces. This was the second time Corio and Frei entered a piece in the Puyallup program. "It was the first show we ever did as an artist team," Corio said.

The couple's sculpture "Flying Umbrellas" was unveiled in April at the northwest corner of Evergreen Boulevard and Main Street in downtown Vancouver.

Corio and Frei will be creating a sculpture for a housing development in east Vancouver, as well as customizing the Cobalt Designworks studio on McLoughlin Boulevard.

"It hasn't hit me yet that ("Rise") is staying," said Corio, who is used to picking up their sculptures at the end of gallery runs. "I think she'll add a brightness and an inspiration to any location."

— Ashley Swanson

Symphony superfan Ogden praised for support of arts

There are about 150 official Friends of The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. But Val's a pal.

Val Ogden, an avid supporter of the arts and a former Democrat state representative from Vancouver, will be honored with an Arts Advocacy Award from the Friends of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra during a benefit luncheon Dec. 12. Ogden is known as a symphony superfan who has doggedly pushed for a downtown Vancouver arts center. That's still a dream, but the symphony friends take heart from Ogden's powerful example of someone who makes things happen.

"We wanted to honor Val this year because she has done so much for the VSO behind the scenes," said Sandra Hoyt, Friends of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra president.

The luncheon also brings classical music back to Esther Short Park. August 2008 was the last time the VSO offered a concert in the park -- before the Great Recession took its toll and the group struggled just to survive, let alone offer free public concerts.

"The summer concert is a great way to attract families and others who do not yet know we have this wonderful professional symphony, right here in Vancouver," Hoyt said. "We have to get it back."

The luncheon is 11 a.m. Dec. 12 at the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, 100 Columbia St. Tickets are $50. Seating is limited and the deadline to register is Dec. 6. Call 360-735-7278 or visit .http://vancouversymphony.org/friends.php

— Scott Hewitt

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.