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City Light, City Bright, Nancy Blum
Artist: Nancy Blum
City Light, City Bright is the title of the new utility hatchcover, created by artist Nancy Blum for Seattle City Light. Her dynamic design incorporates the use of a repeating pattern to simulate electricity accented by bold Northwest flowers.


Neighborhood Art from Seattle City Light and the
Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

 

A Brief History of Seattle's Hatchcover Art

The idea for artist-designed hatchcovers (manhole covers) in Seattle came from Seattle Arts Commissioner Jacquetta Blanchett, after seeing hatchcovers in Florence, Italy in the late 1950s. Paul Schell, then director of Seattle's Department of Community Development, also thought it would be a good idea to replace some of the old and battered personnel hatchcovers downtown. He persuaded Blanchett to make a private donation, which paid for 13 hatchcovers displaying a design created by artist Anne Knight. Other donors supported the project as well, and a total of 19 hatchcovers of Knights' design were installed.

Anne Knight piece Anne Knight produced a relief map of downtown Seattle. Thirteen major Seattle landmarks are keyed around the rim of the map. A stainless-steel button on each hatchcover indicates its location within the city. Each of the 19 hatchcovers produced weighed 230 pounds.

 

Seattle's Art in Public Places program awarded subsequent commissions with funds originating from Seattle City Light and the Seattle Water Department.

Jackson piece - CL80_052Bus Nathan Jackson was commissioned in 1976, and produced a Tlingit whale relief, originally carved in wood and later cast in iron. Thirty-two of these hatchcovers were made, ranging in diameter from 32 inches to 36 inches.

 

Garth Edwards piece Garth Edwards design consisted of a circle of cartoon-like faces rimming the hatchcover, as if peering down into the opening at a worker below or up at passersby. Nine of these hatchcovers, each weighing 350 pounds, were installed.

 

Visit www.danheller.com/manholes.html for images of hatchcovers around the world, including Ann Knight's relief map of downtown Seattle.


Lyn McCracken, Artist-In-Residence |  Neighborhoods Home

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