Liza Halvorsen
Salmon
1983

LOCATION
South Police Precinct Lobby
3001 S. Myrtle St.

FUNDING SOURCE
Seattle Police Precincts Bond Issue 1% for Art funds


Multitudes of ceramic salmon, glistening in subtly iridescent shades of pink, green and brown, swim and leap throughout the South Police Precinct. Artist Liza Halvorsen used 12 different molds and approximately 350 tiles to create this collection of fish shown in various stages of their life cycle. To make the tiles, Halvorsen employed the time-intensive raku firing process that gives the tiles their distinctive colors and crackled surfaces.

A 225-square-foot mural is the centerpiece of the work. Spanning the length of the wall over the reception desk, the mural depicts salmon swimming through ceramic tile water past stylized island forms, a vista reminiscent of the San Juan Islands where Halvorsen makes her home. Other salmon appear throughout the station, populating the walls at the front of the reception desk and the bathrooms. The mural also includes several whimsical touches including a whole group of salmon that leap over a water fountain set into the lobby wall. A hardier variety of brick salmon inhabit the exterior of the building as well, lining the entryway and stairs.

Salmon creates a soothing atmosphere for the police station lobby, a space generally characterized by the comings and goings of busy officers and harried visitors. For Halvorsen, who spent time observing salmon at the Ballard Locks, watching them swim by was "calming," an effect she thought "would work for other people, to see them swimming by and see how beautiful they are."