Stuart Nakamura
Wit and Wisdom
2001

LOCATION
Rainier Avenue
Pillars: Northwest and Southeast corners of Rainier and Orcas streets. Gateway Markers: Northwest corner of Rainier Street and Findlay and Southeast corner of Rainier and Juneau streets.

FUNDING SOURCE
Hillman City Gift (SEED and CCRC obtained funding from: City of Seattle Early Implementation Funds, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Fund, and Neighbor to Neighbor Fund)


Two pillars and two gateway markers that feature proverbs from around the world mark several intersections on Rainier Avenue, which runs through the heart of the Hillman City neighborhood in Seattle. The 12-foot-tall steel pillars, created by Stuart Nakamura, are brightly colored and feature two of the clever maxims. These words of wisdom are illustrated by cutout animals affixed to the top of the pillars; a green polka-dotted monkey on one and a red bird in flight on the other. Inset in the sculptures' concrete bases are 24 bronze plaques each highlighting a proverb selected from a different world culture, underscoring the diversity of the neighborhood and inspiring contemplation and reflection from passersby. Additionally two concrete Gateway Markers, decorated with ceramic tiles designed and fabricated by local students, announce the Hillman city center.

According to Nakamura, proverbs "reflect the wit and humor of life with precise clarity and show a depth of understanding that can only come from experience. These observations can only make us richer and wiser as we ponder their meaning."