What Works – South King County Public Art Symposium

Christy Caravaglio, Mary Ellen Bowers, Greg Barthol and Allison Hyde confer at the What Works Public Art Symposium

Artists, city electeds and staff, and developers from around South King County gathered in Federal Way at The Greenline (former Weyerhaeuser headquarters) on September 22 to share ideas about how to encourage more public art projects in South King County, and how to employ more local artists in that effort.

Movers-and-shakers from South King County communities shared their public art projects in four case studies:

Panelists Kathy Justin, Dane Johnson, Gina Kallman and Bill Gaylord shared the year-long experience called Burien/Interim Art Space, or B/IAS. Produced by Justin and Johnson, along with collaborations between Ignition Northwest, the City of Burien, the Burien Arts Commission, Urban Partners and GGLO, B/IAS occupied a temporarily vacant one-acre parcel in the heart of Burien’s Town Square project. The space showcased 11 pieces of art and 11 unite events. It was an energetic gatering place for Burien’s citizens throughout the year. Fundraising efforts raised $78,000 in monetary and in-kind donations. B/IAS became a working canvas that was transformed by the efforts of both artists and the community throughout the year.

Maple Valley Pocket Park came about when the volunteer-run Maple Valley Creative Arts Council transformed an eyesore alley into an inviting sanctuary where people could relax, commune and perform. The MVCAC led a grassroots fund- and friend-raising effort. They secured funds from the Wallace Foundation, which granted seed money for the design of the project. Local designer Kathy Frugé Brown was selected as the artist, and along with the project manager Mary Jane Glaser, technical director Ken Fox and contractor Len Sundstrom, this team forged a successful collaboration with many supportive community entities.

City of Auburn staff members Allison Hyde, Julie Krueger, and Kevin Snyder talked about how the City has patiently revitalized its Main Street with a variety of public art programs and acquisitions. From hand-painted pianos and benches to a Poet Laureate Program, from window-front art galleries to the bustling Auburn Avenue Theater and the repurposing of the old post office into an upcoming Arts & Culture Center, Auburn has enlivened its urban core.

And Recology/Cleanscapes 2017 Artists in Residence, Danielle Gambogi and Meg Hartwig, shared how they have been using their five-month residency to interact with tour groups, and provide a way to engage with the community on the experience of working with recycled materials. The AIR program seeks to build a community of artists that gain intimate insight into the process behind collecting, processing and recycling materials in the Puget Sound region.

Sarah Kavage led the creative group exercise

A creative group exercise was led by public artist Sarah Kavage who encouraged the group to break into small teams and think up out-of-the-box approaches to public art.

And Sound Transit’s Public Art Manager Barbara Leucke and Laura Haddad, the project artist who conceived of the 48-foot-long  and 26-foot-high Cloud sculpture at Angle Lake Light Rail Station, discussed the “studio to station” process of developing, engineering, and testing this complex piece.

Finally, the symposium concluded with a mapping exercise that allowed all participants to identify upcoming public art projects in their communities, untapped resources, and opportunities ripe for artistic intervention. A reception followed at the Pacific Bonsai Museum.

The Symposium was funded and jointly planned by 4Culture and SoCoCulture, with event management provided by Katherine Wimble Fox. 4Culture Public Art Manager Cath Brunner was the moderator at the event and Lori Rock of Big Idea Zoo, captured the event proceedings with her visual note-taking process (see below).

Posted on 10/1/2017