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Office of Arts & Culture receives top honors for public art at national convention

We’re proud to announce that two projects managed by our office have been named in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 Year in Review, the only national program recognizing projects of excellence in public art. The awards were presented today at Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Public Art Preconference in Pittsburg. Congratulations to the artists for their innovative and evocative artwork projects.

The honorees are SODO by merge conceptual design and the temporary art program Art Interruptions. In addition to these artworks, a number of artists currently working on commissions for the city, or who have works in Seattle’s collection, were also recognized: Buster Simpson, Ned Kahn, Patrick Marrold, Susan Robb, Linda Beaumont and Jenny Heishman.

consists of a series of stencil and barcode designs painted onto 250 concrete columns that hold up the existing and new portions of the Spokane Street Viaduct between Sixth Avenue South and East Marginal Way South. The artwork is a vast, visual narrative that catalogues more than 200 years of SoDo’s (South of Downtown) history, from tidal flats to the industrial area to a center of warehousing, packaging and distribution of goods. Nine different color and image schemes create separate zones that recollect the natural and cultural history of the area, the industries that flourished there, and wildlife that inhabited the site. In total, 589 column faces were painted stretching one half mile through the corridor. The unifying visual element across the site is a unique barcode for each color field, which includes distinct icons representing each story or theme. Funding for this project came from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) 1% for Art funds.

surrogate‘Art Interruptions’
Created in 2012, the temporary art program Art Interruptions presented a suite of short-term projects that appeared to be “non-sanctioned” art on city-owned street and park infrastructure and in the right-of-way. Artists for 2012 were A.K. “Mimi” Allin, Brian Benfer, Peter Bjordahl, Barbara De Pirro, Mary Iverson, Jennifer and Allan Kempson, Ingrid Lahti, Joanna Lepore, Nickolus Meisel, Chris Papa, Carolina Silva and Ellen Sollod. The works offered the public a brief interruption in their day and eliciting a moment of surprise, beauty or humor. Artworks activated the commercial corridor of Greenwood as part of SDOT’s program “Summer Streets” and surprised passers-by along the Central Waterfront in downtown Seattle. This project was created in conjunction with SDOT and Seattle Parks and Recreation and funded through SDOT 1% for Art funds. Intended to be offered annually, Art Interruptions will return with a new suite of artists in August 2013.

We also want to congratulate our local sister agencies whose artworks were recognized: 4Culture, the Port of Seattle, ArtsWA (Washington State Arts Commission) and Vulcan Real Estate.

Read the full press release here.

IMAGES: Top: merge conceptual design, SODO, 2012. Located under the Spokane Street Viaduct between Sixth Avenue South and East Marginal Way South. Photo by Spike Mafford. Bottom: A.K. “Mimi” Allin, Surrogate, 2012. Performance artwork on Greenwood Avenue North as part of Art Interruptions 2012. Photo courtesy of the artist.