June 20, 2012
By William Yardley from The New York Times
The new wing of the Maryhill Museum of Art, foreground, is partly financed by income from wind turbines on the museum's rural acres, in Washington State. Photo by Matthew Ryan Williams/The New York Times
The big winds that rake this nearly treeless channel of the Columbia River Gorge lightened somewhat last weekend.
“It was calmer than usual,” said Colleen Schafroth, the executive director of the Maryhill Museum of Art, high on a bluff above the Columbia. “But the turbines were definitely turning.” And after last weekend, when Maryhill celebrated the opening of a $10 million addition, when benefactors strolled the new plaza that offers views of the river, Mount Hood and the wheat fields across the river in Oregon, and when guests dined outside the little cafe, everyone will know better than to complain when the wind picks up again.
After all, in addition to a sculpture garden featuring artists of the Pacific Northwest, Maryhill’s grounds — all 5,300 acres of them — now include 15 wind turbines, part of a vast installation that sends 500 megawatts of electricity to Los Angeles and about $250,000 each year into the operating revenues of one of the most isolated art museums in the contiguous United States.