Find Posts By Topic

Seattle Center welcomes five new artists for the 2017-18 Poetry Garden Art Series

February 2017 through May 2018


SEATTLE, (Jan. 23, 2017) — The Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) and Seattle Center (SC) have commissioned five artists to develop temporary artworks for the 2017-18 Poetry Garden Art Series on the Seattle Center campus: David Kelly-Hedrick, Barbara de Pirro, Susan Palmer, Jennifer Szabo, and Xavier Lopez.

The theme for this year’s series of artworks is Seattle Center Festál Turns 20. Festál presents world festivals throughout the year highlighting the distinct cultures and common threads of ethnic communities in our region through traditional and contemporary art, music, foods, youth activities, workshops and more. This illuminating series of 24 ethnic cultural festivals seeks to connect people in ways that build understanding, dispel stereotypes and generate pride among the generations who participate in these shared experiences. For the 20th year of Festál, the selected artists will take various approaches to celebrating the value that cultural festivals bring to our community.

The Office of Arts & Culture and the Seattle Center have a 40-year history of partnering to bring permanent and temporary artworks to the Seattle Center campus. In 2015, the two organizations jointly invested in emerging artists by providing training and commissioning seven artists to create site specific temporary artwork for the campus. The 2017-18 Poetry Garden Art Series is a continuation of this investment.

The Poetry Garden was envisioned at its inception to be a site for temporary art activations. The garden, in the heart of the Seattle Center campus, is composed of crushed granite paths punctuated by 12 sculpted, polished, pink granite boulders engraved with an eclectic selection of poems by various authors. The boulders were sculpted and sited by artist/sculptor John Hoge.



Xavier Lopez
February 6 – May 6, 2017
Conceptual artist Xavier Lopez will create an installation that will invite people visiting the garden to write a message, thought or wish down on a small piece of paper and place it in one of 40 bottles hanging in the garden.

Lopez is a contemporary, Latino, conceptual mixed-media artist living in Seattle. Lopez received his MFA from the University of California, Davis. Lopez’s art-making, while still personal and autobiographical in the broadest sense, eschews the obvious tropes of masculinity, hegemony and race. He most recently worked with La Sala for their La Cocina project where he put together and performed in a night of all Latinx performance art. He is a recipient of the 2016 Artist Up Grant Lab Award.


Jennifer Szabo
May 8 – August 4, 2017
Jennifer Szabo’s artwork aims to capture the impact Festál has over time (one calendar year) encapsulated in a single moment and place by creating a colorful visual calendar in the garden.

Szabo creates art that is focused on the intersection between nature, time and culture. Working in the field of Landscape Architecture, her passion for placemaking and belief that our human interaction with the natural world is vital inform her art. She seeks to celebrate these connections as well as ask the viewer to consider their role in these interactions. She creates integrated art that reaches into, sculpts and communes with nature to evoke memory and presence. Szabo completed her degree at the University of Washington in Seattle.



David Kelly-Hedrick
August 7 – November 3, 2017
David Kelly-Hedrick will install fresh lines of poetry written by contemporary poets from Seattle and around the Pacific Rim. The lines of poetry will be inscribed on salvaged planks of wood gathered from Puget Sound beaches and then will be placed in the garden to shine and weather.

Kelly-Hedrick is an English teacher, writer, and artist. He enjoys an artistic practice where those three passions intersect and is especially interested in promoting some of the amazing voices in contemporary poetry.


Barbara de Pirro
November 6, 2017 – February 1, 2018
Barbara de Pirro will create a series of multi-colored ‘eco-banners’ abstractly representing the multi-cultural mix of people and events that are a part of our community and the focus of Seattle Center Festál Turns 20.

de Pirro creates environmental, mixed media sculptures and installations. Her artwork has been commissioned and exhibited in museums, galleries, sculpture parks, art centers and public art organizations. She is a member of Northwest Designer Craftsman, Surface Design Association and National Basketry Organization. In 2010 she received a GAP Grant and in 2016 she received a Fellowship Residency through Artist Trust. De Pirro’s artwork has been published in multiple publications; including Textile Art Around the World, Green Art: Trees, Leaves and Roots, World of Threads, Fiber Art Now and Surface Design Association.


Susan Palmer
February 2 – May 6, 2018
Susan Palmer will create a colorful abstract pattern of laminated quilt blocks that will hang the garden.

Palmer was born in Seattle, and has lived in the northwest most of her life. She has created quilts for over 25 years and has been a professional quilter for the last 10 years. Palmer was an originator of the Mukilteo Quilt and Garden Tour. Her quilts have been accepted in many local and national shows, where she has won many awards. She was one of 30 artists that was accepted in the 2015 Seattle Art and Culture Public Art Boot Camp.