Visitors to the Oregon Labor Center may have noticed a big change in the lobby this year: A new mural depicting the fight to build power for working Oregonians.
The mural was created by Bob Hansen, an IUPAT Local 1094 member who runs INKNIFE, a sign painting and mural company based in Portland, Oregon. Brother Hansen also hand-painted the lettering in the lobby and Main Hall at the Oregon Labor Center and we’re proud to support a union-powered local business as we continue to make our statewide headquarters a vibrant space filled with images of workers, actions, and more.
The concept for the mural was developed by the Oregon AFL-CIO and includes a variety of picket signs, images of workers fighting for their rights, and the silhouette of Mt. Hood to tie it all together. Bob did an amazing job bringing the concept to life and giving our lobby a much-needed splash of art depicting the values of Oregon Labor.
In addition to the new mural, we are also proud to display a collection of prints by Ralph Fasanella, a cherished artist who intended for his work to be hung in union halls. Born in the Bronx on Labor Day in 1914, Fasanella's vibrant and dense compositions celebrate everyday workers and address complex issues of postwar America. Celebrated for his working-class life paintings, he became a tireless advocate for laborers' rights, first as a union organizer and later as a painter.
An effort was made in the late 1980’s to place a dozen of his paintings in public locations in several states. Most prominently, a group of 15 unions purchased one of the Lawrence strike paintings, Lawrence 1912: The Great Strike, and donated it to Congress, where it hung for years in the hearing room of the House Subcommittee on Labor and Education. In 1994, after the Republican takeover of Congress, they removed the painting. It now hangs at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC, where visiting union members can view it.
Please take a moment to check out our new artwork the next time you’re in our building!