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2000 - 2005 Projects
Dragonfly Pavilion and Dragonfly Garden
28th Avenue SW and SW Dakota Street, West Seattle
Artist: Lorna Jordan
The Dragonfly Pavilion and Dragonfly Garden, designed by artist Lorna Jordan, were developed in conjunction with SPU’s Longfellow Creek Drainage and Habitat Improvement Project in West Seattle, part of former Mayor Paul Schell’s Urban Creek Legacy Project/Millennium Celebration. The project to restore Longfellow Creek included Jordan, artist-in-residence at Seattle Public Utilities in 1997 and 1998, on the design team for the Project Master Plan that explored and identified ways to include artworks that illuminate the design and work of SPU's drainage control and urban creek restoration efforts.
Dragonfly Pavilion is the entrance feature to SPU’s Longfellow Creek Drainage and Habitat Improvement Project and serves as a creek overlook and outdoor environmental education facility. The artist-designed Dragonfly Garden, which surrounds the pavilion, is a landscaped area demonstrating salmon friendly and water-wise gardening techniques and is crucial to SPU’s mission and educational message at the site. A large sculptural dragonfly is poised over the seating area, signifying the restoration of the Longfellow Creek watershed’s environmental health over which SPU has stewardship responsibilities because of its drainage and Combined Sewer Outflow (CSO) control activities.
Also at the site is the Adams Fish Bridge artwork that crosses the Longfellow Creek and provides an opportunity to observe this natural resource; its form in the shape of a salmon is also symbolic of SPU’s creek restoration efforts at this site.
Waterworks - Lincoln Reservoir-Cal Anderson Park
11th Avenue E and E Howell Street Capitol Hill
Artist: Douglas Hollis
Artist Douglas Hollis worked with the Berger Partnership and other design team consultants to develop a master plan for an urban park created from the replacement and “hard –covering” of SPU’s Lincoln Reservoir in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The covered reservoir enhances drinking water quality, provides increased security and now allows for a park with graceful walkways and plantings. To remind visitors of the existence of the subsurface reservoir, a Seattle Public Utilities drinking water facility, the design team conceived of a large central water feature in the new park. The water feature points to the history of water at the site and demonstrates its various properties in the four elements that comprise it – Source (the cone), Flow (the trough), Texture (the texture pool), and Reflection (the reflecting pool). The artist clad the cone with granite cobbles that activate both visually and aurally water cascading over it, while flow diverters in the trough allow visitors to interact with the running water. Both the sight and sound of the water help visitors to experience and see one of our city’s most precious resources – water.
Seattle Scatter Piece
Bitter Lake Reservoir, Laurelhurst Playfield, Beacon Hill Reservoir, 23rd Ave W and W Gilman
Artist: Mark Lere
1981-1992 and 2005
In 1981, Mark Lere proposed a project that would locate pieces of art at five sites around the city by overlaying a simple line drawing of a boat on a map of Seattle, generating the shape and concept of this work. The five principal points (the bow, and front and rear corners) fall on City-owned sites. At each location, a different sculpture employs the boat shape as its fundamental form. The boat form resonates with the maritime and water-imbued environment of Seattle. The four completed sculptures: a drinking fountain that provides water to residents, a viewpoint at Interbay, and two sculptures located at SPU’s reservoir properties (Beacon and Bitter Lake) require a complete "voyage" through all districts of the city to see the artwork in its entirety.
Longfellow Flora - Longfellow Creek Trail Identifiers
Three miles through Delridge to Roxbury Park, West Seattle
Artist: Peter de Lory
The Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail is a “ribbon of connection” running along the creek through West Seattle neighborhoods, businesses, public green spaces and communities. Created in partnership with many departments including Seattle Public Utilities (responsible for drainage, Combined Sewer Outflow, and related creek habitat improvements), the trail marks Longfellow Creek along three miles through Delridge. The City commissioned artist Peter de Lory to create trail identifiers to mark the trail. The trail markers, porcelain enamel blade signs, show digitally manipulated images of flora photographed by the artist at Longfellow Creek. Five different images placed back-to-back are repeated in various pairings, creating a modulating system of sign-posts that mark the route of the trail and the creek. The trail identifiers employ images of the creek’s natural elements to help the public understand the resource that is Longfellow Creek.
Spur Line/West Lake Union Pathway
Westlake Avenue N from Galer Street to Crockett Street, South Lake Union
Artist: Maggie Smith
Artist Maggie Smith worked on a design team with City of Seattle staff to provide enhancements to designated elements of the West Lake Union Improvement project. The project began as a partnership among community members, businesses, Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities to develop a pedestrian/bicycle pathway and to improve parking and drainage and water quality into Lake Union. The artwork draws much of its thematic content and formal cues from the history of Lake Union as a working waterway, the rail line that followed the water’s edge and the drainage system below the path. The artwork consists of benches, sidewalk inserts, pedestrian handrail and a listening tube connected to the drainage infrastructure. At Waterway #1, the whimsical galvanized steel “listening tube,” a double-bell reference to speaking tubes used on old boats to connect above with below, carries the sound of water from an innovative below-ground stormwater treatment unit, a Seattle Public Utilities facility. This element and text in the pathway reinforce references to the work SPU performs in treating stormwater. This project was partially funded by SPU.
Meadowbrook Pond Kiosk
(Also see 1998 Artworks: Meadowbrook Pond Reflective Refuge)
35th Avenue NE and NE 110th Street, Meadowbrook
Artist: Lydia Aldredge
Created as part of a second phase of SPU’s Meadowbrook Detention Pond project, the Informational Kiosk is a unique work of art that orients visitors to SPU’s detention pond (developed to reduce stormwater flows and improve water quality in Thornton Creek) and the broader watershed in which it is sited. The kiosk provides a location for educational materials to be viewed. Using the same formal language as the earlier structures at the detention pond, the kiosk makes reference to indigenous Northwest waterside structures, including fishing shacks, bird blinds, and Native American lodges. A terrazzo map of northeast Seattle on the floor of the kiosk shows local creeks that traverse the Thornton Creek watershed.
Cedar River Watershed Education Center
19901 Cedar Falls RD SE, North Bend, WA
Artist: Dan Corson
Artist Dan Corson worked with the design team of Jones and Jones Architects to integrate art into the Cedar River Watershed Education Center. The destination interpretive facility educates visitors on the function, ecology and importance of the Cedar River Watershed, which is managed by Seattle Public Utilities as the principal source of drinking water for the Seattle metropolitan area. The artworks created by Corson reflect the Cedar River Watershed’s natural environment and also make use of the resource, water, whose stewardship rests with Seattle Public Utilities.
- Snaking Root Ceiling
Four tree roots, harvested in the area, are suspended in the Center’s entry. Three tree remnants are intertwined with blue krypton and green argon light tubes, representing the flow of water and energy of the Cedar River water system.
- Dendritic Root Floor
The Center’s lobby floor features stylized root patterns, sandblasted and stained onto the concrete floor, echoing the root ceiling above. The visitor is made aware of the Watershed’s natural ecology in the use of tree root imagery.
- Rain Drum Court
The Cedar River Watershed Education Center’s Rain Drum Court uses the natural resource that feeds the watershed, rain, to activate the artwork. This exterior Court encircled by vine maples includes 21 painted drums, representative of different cultures, and a few scattered artifacts from towns that used to be located inside the watershed boundaries. During rainfall, the water collects on the maples’ leaves and drips to sound the rain drums. When it is dry, a computer activates nozzles that drip water in pre-programmed rhythms of various cultures, including Native American, African-American and Balinese, or, at other times mimic rain. The artwork reinforces the mission of SPU’s Watershed Education Center which is to educate youth and adults alike about the environmental and cultural history of the Cedar River Watershed.
Beckoning Cistern/Vine Street
1st Avenue and Vine Street, Belltown
Artist: Buster Simpson
Beckoning Cistern, shaped like an open hand, captures rainwater runoff from the roof of a nearby building and, when full, spills the water into the adjacent planter. Demonstrating “green” practices, the sculpture reinforces and brings public awareness to Seattle Public Utilities’ water conservation efforts. It also demonstrates natural cleansing of stormwater through planted drainage systems also integral to SPU’s mission. The sculpture is a popular component of the “Growing Vine Street” revitalization effort, which involved property owners, neighborhood groups, and various departments of the City, including Seattle Public Utilities.
West Seattle Cultural Trail
Alki Beach, West Seattle
Artists: Joe Feddersen, Donald Fels, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith
The West Seattle Cultural Trail spans Alki Beach and extends onwards up the Duwamish River. It is comprised of five basic elements: etched and inlaid stone pavers, bronze plaques, viewing devices that merge the view of actual scenery with ghost images, sculptural arches which serve as gateways to the trail, and a sculpture by Donald Fels, Paragon, at Terminal 107. These elements combine with stories and poems from the community to celebrate not only the human history of the area, but the plant and animal life, the geology, and the geography of the site as well. Its references to environment underscores SPU’s stewardship responsibilities (e.g. water quality, habitat restoration) related to the City's water resources. This project was partially funded by SPU.
Salmon in the City
Salmon in the City was a multi-media series of artist-initiated temporary public art artwork projects displayed throughout Seattle that celebrated the presence and heritage of salmon in the Pacific Northwest. The projects created an awareness of the need for salmon habitat and conservation, particularly in light of the listing (at that time) of Chinook Salmon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of the United States. Creating sustainable salmon habitat worked in concert with the utilities’ mission of providing clean water.
Salmon Waves/Hiram M. Chittenden Memorial Locks
32nd Avenue NW and NW 54th Street, Ballard
Artist: Paul Sorey
Salmon Waves consists of seven stainless steel wave-like sculptures, with light emitting diodes that create the illusion of juvenile salmon in motion. The sculpture’s machined form alludes to waves and salmon, references the precision of the Locks, and visually marks the complex system that is designed to ensure the safe passage of juvenile salmon. Through its influence on Lock operations (vis a vis water levels in the Cedar River and Lake Washington), stewardship of the Cedar River Watershed, as well as its water quality, Combined Sewer Outflow and stormwater program, Seattle Public Utilities has a responsibility to establish healthy water resources and encourage the return of salmon through the Locks and into Seattle’s urban waterways. The sculptures are now a key component for the 1.5 million visitors who come to the Ballard Locks each year. This project was partially funded by SPU.
Artist: Dennis Cunningham
The linocut print of Seattle Salmon was commissioned to embody visually and publicize the Salmon in the City program in a brochure and other materials. The artist created a limited edition of 25 signed and numbered prints. The original has been displayed as part of the portable works collection. The image was also printed onto tote bags, further disseminating the program’s message.
City-wide in street right-of-way
1987 and 2001
Over the years, the City of Seattle has regarded the functionally necessary hatch covers, providing employee access into its utility vaults and meters, as an opportunity for art that illustrates the utilities’ missions. In the 1970s, the first hatch covers were created for Seattle City Light, followed in 1987 with hatch covers for the Water Department. In 2001, three new hatch cover designs were commissioned, two of which were for Seattle Public Utilities.
SPU Hatch cover #1: Water Ring
Artist: Betsy Best-Spadaro
Artist Betsy Best-Spadaro’s cast iron hatch covers for drainage and wastewater are located around downtown and outlying neighborhoods and portray several themes: the interaction between human and marine life, and the water cycle. The first is shown through images of marine animals correlated to bodies of water in the region, including orcas (the Puget Sound) and salmon (streams and rivers); within this design humans swimming with the marine life illustrate the need for good water quality, a responsibility of Seattle Public Utilities’ drainage and wastewater infrastructure. Surrounding these images are a series of rings that describe the water cycle, from rain to bodies of water culminating in a center ring that depicts clean water returning to the waterways through sewers and drainage systems.
SPU hatch cover #2: Raven Shouts Water
Artist: Barbara Earl Thomas
Barbara Earl Thomas developed a design for water meter covers that feature a raven – iconic to the Northwest native culture – in motion, appearing as if it is “shouting water,” the resource provided by Seattle Public Utilities to its customers. The artist translated the tonal scale of her original drawing to the permanent hatch cover by modulating the relief of the cast iron. The image changes throughout the day, depending on the weather and the amount of light reflected off the hatch covers.
Seattle Water Department hatch cover
Artist: Garth Edwards
Garth Edwards’ design for the Water Department’s hatch cover design shows a circle of cartoon like faces rimming the hatch cover, as if peering down into the opening at a utility worker below or up at passersby. The image reinforces the function of the hatch cover as providing access to the utility infrastructure unseen beneath the city’s streets.
Objects of Utility: Seafair 2000 Parade performances
Artists Kathryn Rathke and Curtis Taylor were awarded commissions to create temporary artworks that would be included as entries in the 2000 Seafair parades. Seattle Public Utilities suggested the themes for the artworks, which reinforced messages of encouraging environmentally-friendly gardening, maintaining water quality, and supporting salmon habitats.
Hi Yu Festival in West Seattle, International District Festival, Greenwood Festival
Artist: Kathryn Rathke
Rathke’s "flower brigade" entry was a fanciful multi-part parade unit honoring the efforts of the Georgetown Garden Club and Tom Knoblaugh, a leader of organic gardening efforts in this industrial neighborhood. The unit included a flower-festooned tank float, followed by phalanxes of marching flowers. A moving recycling bin and a drill team of hand-powered mowers were accompanied by an aide shouting organic gardening orders. Much of the artwork's message supports Seattle Solid Waste's goals.
Long Live the King
Seafair Torchlight Parade
Artist: Curtis Taylor
Taylor’s parade float unit celebrated the salmon as an honored cultural and vital resource in the Northwest region. The crowned King salmon was 10’ tall and 40’ long with translucent skin, glowing with interior lighting. The fish was articulated to move in the manner of an Asian dragon dancer, and was towed by a small tractor girdled with an oversized crown. A cast of 10 “kings” dressed in fake-fur trimmed, red robes accompanied the salmon. The presence of salmon indicates a healthy habitat which in turn reflects sound waterways.