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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Office of Arts & Culture receives top honors for public art from Americans for the Arts

6/17/2014  10:00:00 AM

Office of Arts & Culture receives top honors for public art from Americans for the Arts
Two 2013 public art projects were selected for national recognition, along with local artist, Norie Sato

SEATTLE (June 16, 2014) — The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is proud to announce that two of their projects have been named in Americans for the Arts' 2014 Year in Review, the only national program recognizing projects of excellence in public art. The honorees are Nine Lives by Peter Reiquam, a colossal sculpture of a cat perched at the edge of the roof of Fire Station 9 in Fremont, and ‘Chromatic Crystallization (Seattle)' by Elizabeth Gahan, a temporary work in which crystalline structures created from colorful corrugated plastic and vinyl "grew" over the southern arch at Westlake Park. Year in Review presented awards to 37 outstanding public art projects completed in the previous year from across the United States and Canada. In addition, local artist Norie Sato was honored by Americans for the Arts with a 2014 Public Art Network Leadership Award.

"Seattle's public art helps to define us as a city. I'm honored that we have been recognized nationally for our commitment to high-quality public art," said Mayor Ed Murray.

"I'm very proud that two projects in our program received this national recognition," added public art director Ruri Yampolsky. "Seattle has a wealth of accomplished public artists and administrators and it's particularly gratifying that both recognized artists are Seattle-based, and additionally, the Public Art Network Leadership Award went to Seattle artist Norie Sato."

Norie Sato is an accomplished artist, a tireless advocate and has been involved in teaching, planning, activating and consulting. Most recently, Sato was selected to collaborate with the Waterfront Seattle project design team to create an original artwork or series of artworks on the rebuilt east-west Union and/or Seneca streets between First Avenue and Alaskan Way, a project has a personal connection for the artist as the location marks her family's arrival to this country by ship.

Created by Seattle-based artist Peter Reiquam, Nine Lives isinspired by the Eveready Cat® icon — Fire Station 9's distinctive identifying symbol from the previous fire station. The colossal cat, measuring 10'x19'x2', perches at the roof's edge as if he is about to leap to the ground to join his crew on their next life-saving mission. The monumental scale of the black cat sculpture also serves to identify this facility as a civic building. The artwork's sense of whimsy is a fitting match for the station and its family-centric neighborhood, and is well suited to Fremont's personality. Nine Lives has become a destination on Seattle art tours of the Fremont neighborhood, and a landmark for the community. Fire Station 9 is located in Fremont at 3829 Linden Ave N., Seattle. Commissioned with the Department of Finance and Administrative Services 1% for Art funds, and administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

Chromatic Crystallization (Seattle)
Artist Beth Gahan created Chromatic Crystallization (Seattle) for Westlake Park in downtown Seattle. The artwork was designed to fit on artist Robert Maki and landscape architect Robert Hannah's (1988) permanent stage and arch located at the park's northwest corner. Gahan's urban variety of cave crystals appear to grow and thrive on the existing stone structure, activating the space with an unexpected visual experience and making the arch more vibrant. Westlake Park, a bustling urban ecosystem in downtown Seattle offers an ideal context for a "synthetic growth" inspired by forms in nature but constructed with materials from our urban environment. The vinyl's slick surface and vibrant hues reflected the flashy exuberance and commercial center surrounding the park. The piece became a backdrop for all events at the park, providing an appreciated temporary facelift over the summer months in 2013. Commissioned with Seattle Parks & Recreation 1% for Art funds and administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

In addition to Nine Lives and Chromatic Crystallization, a number of artists currently working on commissions for the city, or who have works in Seattle's collection, were also recognized: Adam Kuby, for a Aberdeen project managed by 4Culture; Daniel Mihalyo and Annie Han, authors of the SDOT art plan and currently commissioned for the Denny Substation project, were honored for a project in Portland managed by RAAC as well as Stacy Levy of Pennsylvania, who has several projects in Seattle's collection. In addition, ArtsWA was recognized for a Tacoma-based community engagement project with Chicago photographer Dawoud Bey; Public Art Advisory Committee member Kurt Kiefer was instrumental in realizing this project.

This is the second year in a row that the Office of Arts & Culture has been honored with Year in Review recognition. Winning projects from last year were SODO by merge conceptual design, a series of stencil and barcode designs painted onto 250 concrete columns under the Spokane Street Viaduct; and Art Interruptions, a suite of short-term projects by a dozen artists on city-owned street and park infrastructure and in the right-of-way. The Art Interruptions series is returning in summer 2014 with a new suite of artists on First Hill.

About Seattle's Public Art Program
Seattle was one of the first cities in the United States to adopt a percent-for-art ordinance in 1973. For 40 years, Seattle's public art program has integrated artworks and the ideas of artists into a variety of public settings, advancing Seattle's reputation as a cultural center for innovation and creativity. Seattle's collection includes nearly 400 permanently sited and integrated works and nearly 3,000 portable works. Artworks are commissioned through a public process, and artists are selected through panels comprised of professional visual artists along with community and city representatives. The percent-for-art ordinance specifies that one percent of eligible city capital improvement project funds be set aside for the commission, purchase and installation of artworks in a variety of settings. By providing opportunities for individuals to encounter art in parks, libraries and community centers and on roadways, bridges and other public venues, the Office of Arts & Culture simultaneously enrich citizens' daily lives and give voice to artists.

Office of Arts & Culture | Making art work.
We envision a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. We are supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council.

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