Local artist sends sculpture to be displayed in New York

MEDFORD, Ore. – Medford resident and artist Russell Beebe recently expanded his art’s reach across the country.

Not only are his native story poles featured locally in both Ashland and Talent, but he will also now have two of his sculptures displayed in New York.

“It’s not my culture, and to tell their story so that they look at it and they feel what they need to feel, it had to be right,” Beebe said. “Of all the things I’ve done, that had to be the most perfect.”

Beebe has been a wood carver since he was just ten years old and said he has always been an activist.

He aims to tell the stories of Native American culture, so it’s not forgotten, just like with these 12-foot-tall carvings currently on their way to the east coast.

Beebe said it tells the story of the native six-nation confederacy based in the northeast.

Beebe’s art is also featured in SOU’s Hannon Library.

Since 2006, the “We Are Here” statue has represented the stories and culture of the Shasta and Tekelma tribes that once lived in the Rogue Valley.

“These sculptures help keep native culture alive, and it’s what I believe in, and if I can promote that in any way, I’m happy,” Beebe explained.

Beebe said he is now focusing his time and energy on teaching the next generation.

He said he’s honored to be able to pass on his timeless craft.

“A good friend, he said, ‘if you were born 400 years ago you would be doing the same thing, carving.'”

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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