Seattle artist Jen Dixon is closing in on completing artwork that will become part of the Linden Avenue North Complete Street Project, located on the eastern side of the street within the 13200 and 13500 blocks of Linden Avenue North. Recently the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Office of Arts and Culture project managers, as well as community members that were integral to the project, visited Jen at her studio space, housed within an industrial building in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood.
Due to the physical scale and complexity of Dixon’s artwork Playland, she has completed it in sections, some of which lay neatly packaged for delivery to the site, some of which are still in progress. Similar to playing a game of Tetris, Jen toggles back and forth between two floors, arranging each assembly by a precisely numbered schematic. She is working closely with both her fabricator and the SDOT construction contractor to integrate artwork with the sidewalk and handrails, a gymnastic fete that has required much coordination and communication.
Nearing completion, the Linden Avenue North streetscape project is a major road revision that includes new sidewalks, curbs, roadway alignment and the city’s first urban cycletrack. Long desired by the local community, this project vastly improves accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists on Linden Avenue North.
Dixon’s artwork will consist of repurposed SDOT road signs that will be water-jet cut and screen-printed to create a large, colorful collage that will mimic the contour of a roller coaster, and will be seen as sculptural events that hug the horizon line in a previously lackluster pedestrian environment. Playland reflects Bitter Lake/Broadview’s varied history and takes its name from a 12-acre amusement park that operated adjacent to the site from 1930-1961. The artwork will feature a series of themes and motifs reflecting the area and its history, from the amusement park and the historic sawmill to the native animals and the neighborhood’s residential/commercial development. By referencing a beloved historical site, the artwork provides a sense of play and wonder for the everyday user. Playland’s use of material, color and themes will also create a sense of continuity to the artwork, FlipBooks, which Dixon also created along the Interurban trail between North 110th Street and North 128th Street.
Artwork Dedication: Please join Mayor Mike McGinn and SDOT for a community event celebrating the completion of the artwork and Linden Avenue North construction, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, July 13. The event will take place in front of the Bitter Lake Community Center at 13035 Linden Avenue North.
– Laura Becker, SDOT art and enhancements project manager
IMAGE: Artist Jen Dixon and community member Dickie Dyksterhuis at the artist’s studio in May 2013. Dixon’s Playland (shown here in progress) will be installed July 2013.