Site Specific

Joe Thurston

Joe Thurston / Site Specific LLC. 

Joe Thurston_artist.jpg

Joe Thurston formed Site Specific LLC in 2014 to consult with public art commissioning bodies such as cities, universities, developers, architects, designers, and landscape architects. Site Specific works with these groups to design, fabricate, and program public art installations and to develop Public Art Master Plans. This process often includes presenting projects, vision statements, and strategic plans to city councils, art commissions, investors, and design teams. Site Specific has a portfolio of large projects for clients such as the University of Oregon, Portland State University, Oregon State University, Stanford University, Urban Renaissance Group, Security Properties, the City of Eugene, and the City of Portland.

Joe Thurston is a well-known gallery and public artist who has completed public projects regionally and nationally for 15 years. He has a wealth of knowledge of public process, community engagement, fabrication, installation, and planning. Joe started his public art career in 2007 after visiting Europe. While travelling and experiencing the high-level of sophistication and rigor of art in public spaces on the continent he realized that, unlike much of the public art in the U.S., much of European public art was created by practicing studio artists such as himself (Joe has an active studio practice and exhibits his work nationally and internationally). Upon returning to the states, Joe set about to develop an approach that better reflected his belief that it is essential that art in public places be of exceptionally high quality (materially and conceptually) and that it speak deeply to the intellect and imagination of the public that it serves. Since then he has completed 13 major public art commissions and been part of teams to develop a number of public art plan and master plan processes. For his work he has been honored with the Americans for the Arts’ Best of 2014 Public Art Award. He has also received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York, NY and the Regional Arts and Culture Commission in Portland, OR.

Public art commissions


  • Marine Studies Initiative Building, Oregon State University and Oregon Arts Commission. Newport, OR (Project in progress)

  • Ketchum Sidewalk and Tennis Court Public Artwork Design Project, Ketchum Arts Commission, Ketchum, ID (Project ongoing)

  • Milwaukie Ledding Library, City of Milwaukie Arts Commission. Milwaukie, OR (Project in progress)

  • Canopy, Moda Tower, Urban Renaissance Group and Regional Arts & Culture Council. Portland, OR (Project in progress)

  • Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project, Portland Water Bureau, (in partnership with Felt Hat Design). Portland, OR (Project in progress)

  • Eugene City Hall, Public art sculpture and history interpretation project, City of Eugene Cultural Services, Eugene, OR (Project ongoing)

  • Our Past was Writ in Water, Heartline Building, Security Properties. Portland, OR


  • Watkins Elementary School, Department of General Services. Washington D.C.

  • Vista, Whitman Elementary, Washington State Arts Commission, Richland, WA


  • The Future Stands Still but We Move in Infinite Space, 1320 SW Broadway Building, (former Oregonian Newspaper building). Urban Renaissance Group and Regional Arts & Culture Council. Portland, OR

  • Transitional Objects, Student Recreation Center, University of Oregon and Oregon Arts Commission. Eugene, OR

  • Brilliant Corners and Commuters, Peloton Building, Security Properties. Portland, OR


  • Cornerstone, DeNorval Unthank Memorial, School of Architecture & Allied Arts. Lawrence Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR


  • Title Unknown, 2014, Stanford BioE-ChemE Building (in partnership with Felt Hat Design), Stanford University. Palo Alto, CA

  • Thin Blue Line, West Linn Police Facility, Clackamas County Arts Alliance. West Linn, OR


  • All That is Solid Melts Into Air, Oregon Arts Commission. Anstett Hall/Peterson Hall/Chiles Center, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

    • Awarded: Americans for the Arts’ Best of 2014 Public Art Award


  • This is a Plumb Bob, Oregon Arts Commission. Shattuck Hall, Portland State University, Portland, OR


Public art planning


  • Security Properties. Heartline Building, Portland, OR

  • Urban Renaissance Group, Moda Tower, Portland, OR

  • City of Ketchum, Ketchum City Core Sidewalk Infill Project, Ketchum, ID

  • Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project, Portland Water Bureau—Felt Hat Design, Portland, OR


  • Eugene City Hall, Willamette to Willamette, City of Eugene. Eugene, OR

  • Urban Renaissance Group, 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR


  • Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Archeo, High Line Art—Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. New York, NY


  • West Linn Police Department, historic photography and signage, West Linn, OR


  • Scouter’s Mountain Nature Park, Clackamas County Arts Alliance, Happy Valley, OR,


  • Portland Police Bureau Training Facility, RACC, Portland, OR