Ginny Ruffner
The Unified Playing Field Theory
1989

LOCATION
South Park Community Center
8319 8th Ave. S.

FUNDING SOURCE
Seattle Parks and Recreation 1% for Art


Inspired by the rich diversity of the South Park community, artist Ginny Ruffner designed a grand entry for this historic community center. A 26-foot-high painted steel arch greets visitors and serves as a landmark and identification sign for the center. Cast bronze inlays -which can be incorporated into a game that children of all ages can play - are placed throughout the sidewalk that lead to the center's main entrance, The inlays depict each day of the year (with special holidays highlighted) and the letters of the alphabet accompanied by their symbols in Braille, sign language and Morse code. Additionally, the center's entryway features brightly colored concrete with inlays featuring Washington mountains, local animal species, sports played at the center, and the human senses.

Inside the locker rooms Ruffner created a ceramic tile mural featuring the handprints of well known local athletes, such as Debbie Armstrong, Chris Gobrecht, Fred Brown and Jim Zorn. Handprints of neighborhood youth are intermingled with those of the athletes.

The artist states: "It was truly a public art heaven. . . . They encouraged me to submit ideas on how the building should look. I did a demographic study prior to construction as to exactly who the public was. . . . I wanted to address the ethnic diversity and use appropriate imagery in the gate, sidewalk, and building. I found that the community center functioned as a living room for the community, and I wanted to create something which would help with that."