2006 - 2010 Projects


Ravenna Creek Daylighting Artwork

Mark Brest van Kempen, Ravenna Creek, 2010.Mark Brest van Kempen, Ravenna Creek, 2010.

25th Avenue Northeast from Northeast 55th Street to Northeast 45th Street, Ravenna
Artist: Mark Brest van Kempen

The artist memorializes the existence of Ravenna Creek, daylighted in Ravenna Park and running under 25th Avenue NE, through a series of interventions that mark the presence of the creek within a culverted facility maintained by Seattle Public Utilities. For this joint project, involving Seattle Parks and Recreation and Metro/King County Drainage and Wastewater, the artist created an outfall structure into which the creek enters the Ravenna Creek pipeline, sidewalk insets spelling out Ravenna Creek, and three vaults that permit the viewer to see the creek beneath the sidewalk. The artist completed the project with blue line pointing out the location of the pipe under the sidewalk in 2010. This project is partially funded by SPU.

High Point Natural Drainage System/High Point Housing

Bruce Myers, High Point, 2010.Bruce Myers, High Point, 2010.

32nd Avenue Southwest and Southwest Morgan Street, West Seattle
Artist: Bruce Myers

Bruce Myers worked with the design team to create artworks that reinforce the use of Seattle Public Utilities’ natural drainage systems throughout the entire new housing development. The artist designed castings for drainage inlets, story pole attachments, splash blocks and seating boulders, all depicting natural and water imagery. He also designed sidewalk treatments showing radiating water rings and a sculpture abstractly referencing marine life. The story pole attachments were installed in 2010 to complete the project.

Surge/Northgate Project
Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel

Benson Shaw, Surge (Wiggle Posts vignette detail), 2009. Photo courtesy of the artist.Benson Shaw, Surge (Wiggle Posts vignette detail), 2009. Photo courtesy of the artist.

5th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 100th Street, Northgate
Artist: Benson Shaw

Benson Shaw, who developed an art plan for the Northgate area, has installed artwork in conjunction with Seattle Public Utilities’ Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel project. The project addresses water quality and storm attenuation in the Thornton Creek watershed. A series of “vignettes” at three locations along the channel further the viewer’s understanding of the water-cleansing process at this site and the ideas of falling, detained and flowing water. “Falling Water” consists of light globes and blue glass gabions that flow across the south end of the channel wave. “Bad Buoys” rise and fall with changing water levels. Tall sculptural “Wiggle Posts” announce the site at the north end, mimicking a sine wave that represents the measuring of water collection and aquatic fauna and flora. Throughout the site are glass insets that represent water at different points in the cleansing process. The artwork will place the water channel within the site’s greater environmental and cultural context.

Straight Shot/Sand Point
Calibration Baseline Artwork

Perri Lynch, Straight Shot, 2010. Photo courtesy of Spike Mafford.Perri Lynch, Straight Shot, 2010. Photo courtesy of Spike Mafford.

Sandpoint Way Northeast and Northeast 65th Street, Magnuson Park
Artist: Perri Lynch

Perri Lynch developed an artwork that marks the calibration baseline. A calibration baseline is a public amenity used by the surveying, engineering, public safety, law enforcement, transportation and scientific communities to verify the accuracy of and to calibrate their electronic distance measurement (EDM) equipment. The baseline is extensively used by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) staff throughout the year to calibrate their equipment and is essential for SPU to deliver their services in a cost-effective manner. The artist installed 12 six-foot ink-jade limestone columns placed precisely along this baseline. Drilled into each stone are two circular holes that allow visitors a straight shot of views of the surrounding park, reinforcing the use of the baseline. The artwork educates the public about this facility, which is essential to SPU’s services.

A Salish Welcome/Salmon Bay Natural Area

Marvin Oliver, A Salish Welcome, 2010. Photo courtesy of Jason Huff, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.Marvin Oliver, A Salish Welcome, 2010. Photo courtesy of Jason Huff, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

3419 NW 54th St., Ballard
Artist: Marvin Oliver

A Salish Welcome features a monumental bronze welcome figure draped in a Salish ceremonial robe and holding an aluminum disk that represents the life cycle of the Pacific Salmon. The sculpture blends traditional forms with contemporary media to create a new vision that honors local indigenous people and celebrates the endangered salmon at this Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) restored habitat. SPU has been restoring the Salmon Bay Natural Area to improve water and upland habitat for salmon and other species and to enhance public access along the Shilshole waterway. Groundswell NW received Department of Neighborhoods funding to create a landscaped area where SPU has been improving the site.


Water Calling

In 2009, the Office of Arts & Culture commissioned artists to tap the flow of Seattle's water with free performances, films and installations. Under the theme Water Calling, artists created temporary artworks and short films that celebrated water's mythical power, examined its flow and history, and offered ways to care for our urban watersheds. The Water Calling projects were commissioned in partnership with Protect Our Waters, the city's initiative to protect and restore Seattle's urban waterways.

John Grade, Mantle, 2009 – 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.John Grade, Mantle, 2009 – 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Temporary Projects

Bitter Lake Reservoir, near the intersection of North 138th Street and Linden Avenue North
Artist: John Grade
September 2009 – January 2010

John Grade’s large sculpture installation —which evokes the image of a water tower— features a wooden frame that rises to cradle a cloud-like spherical form. Created with a corn-based polymer, the "cloud" gradually biodegraded when exposed to rain and ultimately disappeared. Over the course of about four months, viewers saw the temporary installation evolve and change, offering a means of framing and examining the role water plays in our urban lives.

Volunteer Park
Artist: Stokley Towles
July 2009

Stokley Towles, Waterlines, 2009. Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Peters.Stokley Towles, Waterlines, 2009. Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Peters.

Performance artist Stokley Towles traced the flow of our city's water through interviews with SPU employees. He shared his findings and explored local perceptions and behaviors around water use, its sources and conservation in the installation and playful 40-minute performance artwork inside a trailer or “laboratory” located near the Volunteer Park Reservoir. View video.

Mater Matrix Mother and Medium
Camp Long
Artist: Mandy Greer
April – August 2009

Mandy Greer, Mater Matrix Mother and Medium, 2009. Photo courtesy of Juniper Shuey.Mandy Greer, Mater Matrix Mother and Medium, 2009. Photo courtesy of Juniper Shuey.

In spring 2009, Seattle artist Mandy Greer invited people to participate in a string of crocheting circles at libraries, neighborhood festivals and parks. The result was a 200-foot "fiber river" of blue yarn and recycled fabric that flowed through the trees near Camp Long's Polliwog Pond in West Seattle through August 2009. Titled Mater Matrix Mother and Medium, the project included a performance produced by Greer in collaboration with choreographer and dancer Zoe Scofield and composer Morgan Henderson. Greer created the artwork to celebrate and interpret the splendor of Seattle’s urban creeks and watersheds. Echoing SPU’s outreach goals, Greer expressed a hope that her artwork would encourage Seattleites to take an active role in the stewardship of urban water resources.

Short Films

Five Seattle filmmakers explore the city's water and water resources, especially as it relates to SPU’s work, in a series of short films. SJ Chiro, Britta Johnson, Susan Robb, Luke Sieczek and Rick Stevenson created films that range from eight to 12 minutes in length and vary in format.

Water Calling

Part 1 This edition of Reel Short Movies includes films by Britta Johnson, Susan Robb and Rick Stevenson.

Part 2 This edition of Reel Short Movies includes films by Luke Sieczek and SJ Chiro.


Flow/SPU Operations and Control Center

Max Keene, Flow, 2007. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Raab, Elizabeth Raab Photography.Max Keene, Flow, 2007. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Raab, Elizabeth Raab Photography.

2700 Airport Way South, SODO
Artist: Max Keene

Max Keene created ceiling-mounted, light-based interactive installations in the first- and second-floor employee break areas of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Operations and Control Center. Video cameras installed in the first-floor artwork react to light and movement by people below. The artwork slowly reconfigures patterns of LED lights along the undulating form, suggesting a theme of flowing water in a clean environment. Motion sensors in the second-floor artwork detect the presence of people. LED lights illuminate and fade between three different colors as people move beneath the artwork. The evolving patterns of light and energy mirror SPU’s charge of building and maintaining infrastructure to facilitate the city’s flow of clean water. These artworks enhance the workspaces for SPU employees.