Somewhat hidden in the Delridge neighborhood – if you can hide a 16’ tall anisoptera (that’s dragonfly to you and me) – is a public artwork that is part sculpture, part shelter, part garden and all drama – West Seattle’s Dragonfly Garden and Pavilion. Tucked behind the behemoth steel factory south of the West Seattle Bridge is artist Lorna Jordan’s striking entry point to the Longfellow Creek Watershed, perched above its eponymous stream.
The oxblood-colored, iridescent dragonfly hovers above a terrazzo floor that mimics the shape of the insect, with the head forming a gracious seating area. The 40’ wingspan is extended on the ground plane by a pair of expansive gardens. Their planting plan mimics the stained-glass veining of the dragonfly’s wings.
Featuring drought- tolerant plants, the planting scheme provides an example of water wise gardening practices. The site slopes away towards Longfellow Creek, so that the Dragonfly provides a viewpoint towards this natural resource that winds its way south to Westwood Village.
Developed in conjunction with Seattle Public Utilities Longfellow Creek Drainage and Habitat Improvement Project, the artwork illuminates the design and work of SPU’s drainage control and urban creek restoration effort. The artwork serves as an outdoor classroom for environmental stewardship learning opportunities and a starting point for a journey through the site that also includes a “Salmon-Bone Bridge, also by Jordan, that spans the creek.
According to the artist, the presence of dragonflies signals environmental health; the artwork’s form is an apt nod to the restoration work along the Longfellow Creek waterway.
Funded with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art Funds.
IMAGES: Dragonfly Pavilion and Garden, 2006, 28th Avenue SW and SW Dakota Street., painted steel pipe, concrete, terrazzo, brass strips, photo: Lorna Jordan
Weekly Art Hit is featuring artworks every week from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the city’s public art program.
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