Courtesy: Courtesy of the Regional Arts & Culture Council

The Responsibility of Raising a Child

Portland, Oregon

Rick Bartow (

Transit Mall, SW 5th Ave. and SW Taylor St., Portland, Oregon, 97205
Administrator:  Regional Arts & Culture Council
Supervising Architect:  City of Portland
Date:  2004
Placement:  sidewalks
Collection:  Regional Arts & Culture Council
Artwork Type:  sculpture (visual work)
Material:  bronze (metal)
Description:  Rick Bartow weaves symbols of parenting and life cycles throughout his work, The Responsibility of Raising a Child. At the center of the sculpture is the Native American trickster-coyote, representing life that is out of balance. On the back of the coyote is the Grandmother's mask. In many tribal communities, the matriarchs are the doctors who put lives back in balance.Above the Grandmother's mask sits a coastal bird, the Killdeer. This legendary mothering bird distracts predators approaching the nest by acting wounded and hobbling away.Representing the struggles of parenthood, a pair of salmon circle a burden basket. Salmon endure great hardships and eventually give up their own lives to have children. A lamprey eel feeds on the male salmon, showing us the naturally occurring interdependence of species.Peering out of the burden basket is a smiling infant modeled after the artist's daughter, Lily. The sculpture started out expressing the difficult circumstances and troubled life of single parents, often grandparents stepping in to raise a child. But when Bartow placed Lily in the basket it became a hopeful, encouraging and optimistic work.(Courtesy of TriMet. For more information visit:

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