Temporary artworks at Seattle Center's The Next Fifty celebration

From a living sculpture designed to manage stormwater runoff to a giant squid bike rack, we presented temporary artworks and performances that illustrated how artists are shaping the conversation around environmental sustainability. The artworks were in conjunction with Seattle Center's The Next Fifty anniversary celebration.

The artworks are presented in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light and Seattle Department of Transportation.



Adam Frank
Seattle Center, Center House

Adam Frank's CURRENT was a living map of Seattle's hydroelectric generation and energy use. The approximately 45-feet-wide by 30-feet-tall mural was illuminated by light projected directly on the interior north face of Seattle Center's Center House.

CURRENT was commissioned with Seattle City Light 1% for Arts funds.


Mater Matrix Mother and Medium

Mandy Greer
Seattle Center, DuPen Fountain and Alki Courtyard

Mandy Greer created the community-based, crocheted artwork Mater Matrix Mother and Medium for a site-specific project at Seattle Center's DuPen Fountain and Alki Courtyard. The 250-foot fiber artwork was crocheted in a full spectrum of blues on the topography of the site and attached to trees, creating a "river" that sat seven to 15 feet off the ground.

Mater Matrix Mother and Medium was commissioned with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds. For more information on Mater Matrix Mother and Medium go here.


Straw Garden: From Wattle to Watershed

Stacy Levy
Seattle Center, Broad Street Green

Stacy Levy's Straw Garden: from Wattle to Watershed was composed of wattles—tightly wrapped straw and coir cylinders and mats used to aid in re-vegetation and erosion control on steep hillsides—arranged in configurations that resembled Baroque garden formations. The sculpture morphed from formal gardenesque shapes into naturalistic patterns that resembled water as it moves across the landscape. The wattles and mats were planted with live stakes of native shrub species. Levy also used plugs and seeds of native perennial plants and annuals. Following the six-month exhibition period. The wattle and plantes were divided and permanently installed throughout Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle Parks and Recreation properties throughout the Puget Sound region.

Straw Garden was commissioned with SPU 1% for Arts funds


Parking Squid

Susan Robb
Seattle Center, Harrison Street entrance

Parking Squid, by artist Susan Robb, provided parking for eight or more bicycles within the tentacles of a deep-sea creature that might be found at the depths of Puget Sound. Designed to fit in one parking space as part of Seattle Department of Transportation's (SDOT) on-street bike parking program, this galvanized steel structure provided bike parking for The Next Fifty celebration. It will move to a long-term, temporary home at the base of Pike Street Hill Climb on Earth Day April 23, 2013.

Parking Squid was created with SDOT 1% for Art funds.


Stormwater: Life in the Gutter

Stokley Towles

Towles' nearly one-hour piece was part performance, part exhibition, offering a gutter's eye view of Seattle's drainage system and the Seattle Public Utilities' (SPU) employees who guide, monitor and maintain stormwater flow in the city.

Towles weaved interviews, observations and historical research together with images and props to talk about runoff in a humorous and illuminating fashion, revealing the world of drainage and stormwater and the people who manage its flow.

Commissioned with SPU 1% for Arts funds.


Water Calling Short Films

SJ Chiro, Britta Johnson, Susan Robb, Luke Sieczek and Rick Stevenson

In the Water Calling short films, five filmmakers tap into the flow of water and invite viewers to reflect on the preservation of our water resources—from drinking water through drainage. The short films vary in length and format—from a fairy-tale approach to sci-fi-like images to stop animation to a portrayal of water as a healing force.

The short films were part of a series of temporary public artworks that were commissioned in 2009 by the Office of Arts & Culture with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) 1% for Art funds. The projects reflect SPU's management of the complete cycle of hydrology for Seattle's water resources, from drinking water through drainage, and Restore Our Waters, the city's initiative to protect and restore Seattle's urban waterways.

Stacy Levy, 2012, Straw Garden: from Wattle to Watershed.

Susan Robb, Parking Squid.

Stokley Towles