‘Treasure’ sculpture coming to George Fox University

November 11th, 2016

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Bronze piece depicting a family of four will be installed on Nov. 18

treasureNEWBERG, Ore. – Visitors to the George Fox University campus will soon notice a new addition to the school’s campus at its entryway between the Pennington Residence Hall and Stevens Center.

A bronze sculpture depicting a family of four, titled Treasure, will be installed on George Fox’s Newberg, Ore., campus on Friday, Nov. 18. The piece is the work of Oregon artist Ellen Tykeson, who also has public work in Eugene, Albany, Yachats, Cottage Grove and Springfield, Ore. She selected George Fox as the new home for the piece due to her family history in the area and the encouragement of 2015 George Fox alumnus Ben Fullhart.

Treasure, with an appraised value of 195,000, was created in 2001. A new location for the piece was needed when the California church originally commissioning it opted to eliminate its exterior art collection. Years of neglect had severely damaged the sculpture, and new church leadership contacted the artist to inquire if she had an interest in finding another place to site it.

Tykeson considered a number of locations in the Northwest before settling on George Fox, after talking with Fullhart, a family friend who described his experience at the university in glowing terms.

“She was impressed with the way Ben described George Fox – how he felt the sense of belonging and of being known here,” said Robby Larson, George Fox’s director of development. “She wanted Treasure to be installed at a place that put a high value on faith and family. After listening to Ben, she felt strongly that this would be the ideal spot for it.”

Tykeson describes the sculpture, which depicts a father, mother, son and daughter, humble in bare feet and casual dress, standing near a protective archway, as, “A testimony to family and faith, two abiding harbors that anchor the tides of our human journey. For each of us, it can be a life’s effort to understand and embrace what we are given, while striving to perfect our relationships and find a spiritual home. For many of us, it is a long walk toward love.”

The artist has another connection to Newberg: Ansel Tykeson, her grandfather, was an orchardist who grew filberts, cherries, walnuts and prunes at his home farm in the Chehalem Valley, while grandmother Hillie Haveman Tykeson taught a generation of children in Newberg grade schools. Her father, Donald, attended the mountain-top one-room schoolhouse on Chehalem Mountain. She visited the farm and Newberg often as a child and has fond memories of both the historic beauty of the George Fox campus and Nap’s market’s 10-cent ice cream cones.

Tykeson is dedicating the Treasure sculpture in the names of her parents, grandparents, and the Fullhart and Knox families, lifelong relationships she describes as her “personal treasure.” The piece has undergone a complete restoration and re-patina prior to its upcoming installation. Campus preparations include the creation of a new plaza and landscaping and lighting to site it. Future plans include inviting family members to campus for a dedication of the piece.

Larson hopes Treasure will generate interest in bringing more art to campus. “Art begets art,” he said. “Not only is this a piece that embodies many of the values we stand for, we’re hopeful it will encourage conversation and ultimately funding to grow our collection of exemplary exterior sculpture for the benefit of our students and wider Newberg community.”

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian universities in the country and is a Christian college classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier regional university. More than 4,000 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem and Redmond, Ore. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, six seminary degrees, and 13 master’s and doctoral degrees.


Robby Larson
Director of Development
George Fox University

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