Second Avenue Project
Second Avenue between Virginia and Denny, Belltown Neighborhood
Department of Transportation 1% for Art (Formerly Seattle Engineering Department)
Kurt Kiefer's Second Avenue Project integrated streetscape elements into a street and sidewalk redevelopment project undertaken by the Seattle Engineering department (now Seattle Department of Transportation) in order to make the street more appealing to pedestrian traffic.
Kiefer's artwork elements engage passers-by physically and mentally, as well as visually, by providing places to sit and think. The artwork consists of small interventions incorporated into the redesigned streetscape. The interventions commemorate pre-existing businesses and make reference to the process of removing Denny Hill (the "Regrade," which took place in the early 1900s). Fiberglas-topped benches with steel, concrete or plastic wood bases, reference trade unions with headquarters in the neighborhood and allude to the history of construction practices. Anodized aluminum light fixture brackets with neon clocks, refer to construction scaffolding and bracing used during the dismantling of Denny Hill. Other art elements include a faux plank walkway fabricated in red tinted concrete and embedded in the sidewalk that replicates temporary sidewalks during the regrade as well as "welcome mats" formed of galvanized steel plates.
Kiefer states, "As you walk this section of Second Avenue, you will discover bits and pieces of this neighborhood's past inserted into its present streetscape. I have placed these objects here to remember the experiments and improvisations that have and will continue to define the Denny Regrade."