Print this Page  
City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: New artwork by Carolyn Law installed in Eastlake neighborhood

3/5/2013  9:00:00 PM

New artwork by Carolyn Law installed in Eastlake neighborhood
'By Water On Land' takes elements from previously sited artwork as its base

SEATTLE — The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and 4Culture are pleased to announce the creation of a site-specific public artwork by Carolyn Law for the Eastlake neighborhood. The monumental kinetic sculpture, entitled By Water On Land, sits at the intersection of Fairview Avenue North and Fairview Avenue East near the newly developed Cheshiahud Trail.

By Water On Land draws its physical form and artistic concept from the urban tension and emotional undercurrents of its location. The site is dominated by the elements that comprise our city streets such as utility poles and trolley lines, forming what the artist calls "a visually condensed and energetic infrastructure." At the same time it is at the water's edge, bringing a sublime quality of shifting light, oyster skies and misty breezes.

Law describes her exploration of this dichotomy by stating, "The essence of the proposal is an infrastructure drawing that is responsive to all this. It co-opts elements of the site's infrastructure. The piece is lyrical. It invites a shift in awareness and perspectives, as people move around, through and by. The site is a neighborhood and physical nexus. Go one direction and you move into the commercial area. Go the other direction and you go towards the seam between land and lake. This piece makes the place legible in different ways."

This artwork actually has its beginnings in the 1990s, as the new Route 70 trolley was developed from downtown to the University of Washington. Law was commissioned to participate with the design team to integrate art into the trolley system that responded to the neighborhoods along the line adjacent to Lake Union. With the changes brought to the area by the construction of the Mercer Corridor, much of that original trolley artwork was removed. 4Culture asked Law to propose a reconfiguration of the salvaged parts into new artwork, and to find a place for it along the trolley route.

With the help of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Law was able to reuse seven mast-like components that originally were installed atop light poles on Fairview, just south of the Cheshiahud Trail site. The original mast sculptures moved gently with the wind, bringing the presence of boats and water to the street. In the new artwork, three of the mast forms retain this kinetic motion and the connection of water to land. The sculptural support is also created from two recycled utility poles, with a physical presence that easily resides within the streetscape vernacular but also supports the artist's intention to shift perceptions and awaken viewers to a new and changing landscape. By Water On Land is supported by SDOT 1% for Art funds and King County/4Culture Department of Transportation % for Art fund.

About Carolyn Law: Carolyn Law has worked as a professional artist for over 30 years. Her public art experience encompasses a wide range of commissioned art projects, art master plans and curated exhibitions in public places. Law is one of the region's earliest practitioners of design team collaboration, working from the initial conceptual stages of a project with urban planners, architects, engineers, landscape architects, governmental agencies and community members. She has also produced site-specific integrated artworks and temporary installations throughout the country. As a planning artist, Law has authored distinctive and inspiring art plans for situations ranging from a single site such as a city hall to multiple art experiences integrated into the physical place and programmatic structure of the Seattle parks system. In addition to her art practice, she has been actively involved in civic affairs concerning the built environment through on-going participation on the Seattle Design Commission, Light Rail Review Panel, Baseball Stadium Community Review and 4Culture's Public Art Advisory Committee. Learn more about the artist's work:

Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs supports the health and vitality of our city by providing access to arts and culture, advancing the role of artists in our community, and advocating for issues that affect the entire cultural community. The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the city agency.

4Culture is a unique integration of the arts, heritage, preservation and public art; committed to advancing community through culture. Public exhibitions and performances, public art, preservation of significant sites and interpretation of local history deepen our connections to the places in which we live and work. 4Culture stimulates cultural activity and enhances the assets that distinguish a community as vibrant, unique and authentic.

# # #

Back to News Release Home Page and News Release Search