Jeffry Mitchell
Ballard Sculpture Garden
1995

LOCATION

N.W. 46th St. and Sixth Ave. N.W.

FUNDING SOURCE
Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds


Artist Jeffry Mitchell created a two-part artwork consisting of a concrete frieze and a sculpture garden for Seattle City Light's System Control Center. The frieze follows the upper portion of the facility's gently curving façade and depicts a repeating pattern of plant and animal forms based on the intricate designs of Arabic rugs. Nearby, Mitchell designed a formal "European style" garden studded with mock-Delft blue-and-white bench legs capped by wooden seating and ceramic columns, topped by what the artist calls "prosaic garden sculptures." The sculptures include rabbits, bears, an elephant, squirrels, Dutch children and a gnome all painted with elaborate decorative motifs.

Mitchell's piece provides an intriguingly fanciful counterpoint to the important public utilities the building houses. Referencing whimsical Old World traditions, Mitchell creates an approachable setting by means of what he describes as an "identifiable, modest, cheery and?charming" artwork enjoyed by the surrounding community.