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Still Essential: Free Art to Celebrate Water and Light Stewards, Grocery Workers, and More

As the second year of the pandemic comes to a close and the holidays approach, we’ve all gotten ever clearer about what is essential: the warmth of home, the simple pleasure of being able to turn on the lights, fire up the stove, and cook a delicious meal. The pandemic has taught us that predictability is a luxury — and one that isn’t borne alone.

None of these activities are possible without essential workers – the utility workers, grocery workers, and countless others that make every aspect of our lives possible.

Jazmine William's poem, 'You Know Me, though you may never pause to see me, you know me. Like you know street lights, guiding you safely home. You know me like the heat of water, washing away the heaviest of days. You know me like you know miracles, so common and convenient. You hardly remember there is a human acting on your behalf of your needs. Though you may never pause to see me, you know me."

About Still Essential

With 1% for Art funds from Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light, The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) and Amplifier have partnered to launch the Still Essential campaign, which aims to respect the dignity of laborers and honor those who continue to keep Seattle running smoothly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — the garbage collectors, utility workers, small business owners, artists, delivery drivers, grocery workers, and teachers we call neighbors. Our goal is to flood Seattle with an eye-catching public art campaign celebrating its essential workers.

Still Essential is inspired by the portraits of essential workers captured during the pandemic by Seattle photographers and reimagined by Tacoma-based artist Paige Pettibon. Through art giveaways, large-scale projections, and wild postings in Seattle, the completed series of artwork strengthens our understanding that essential workers continue to support Seattle communities and maintain vital infrastructure. Photographers include:

Free Art

Starting on Tuesday, December 7th, this work will be distributed around town in the form of 6,000 wheat-pasted posters, as well as unique art giveaways and projections on Capitol Hill, at Columbia City Art Gallery, at Cafe Racer, at Columbia City Theater, at the Museum of Museums, and the Climate Pledge Arena.

Help remind your neighbors how essential workers are by downloading and sharing the free artwork created through this collaboration.

Learn more about what went on behind the scenes to bring the Still Essential campaign to life.