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FLOW: New Artworks Tell the Story of the Ship Canal

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has commissioned four local emergent artists to develop new art installations for FLOW: Art Along the Ship Canal. These temporary and permanent installations tell a visual story of the water and its relationship to the community. The installations are made possible due to SPU’s Ship Canal Water Quality Project and can be seen along the Lake Washington Ship Canal through August 2022. 

Save Our Salmon by Tommy Segundo 

On View in Fremont (NW 36th St. & Leary Way NW) 

Save Our Salmon by Tommy Segundo, courtesy of the artist

Tommy Segundo’s Save Our Salmon showcases salmon flowing down the man-made waterway, Fremont Cut, moving towards the moon. The canoe with a killer whale adorning the side represents the flowing of all living beings that depend on these waters. “Salmon numbers have declined dramatically,” shares Segundo, “and we all need to work together to replenish salmon runs.” 

Kumi Hala by Toka Valu 

On View in Ballard (24th Ave NW & Shilshole Ave NW) 

Kumi Hala by Toka Valu, courtesy of the artist

In Toka Valu’s Kumi Hala, the shark greets salmon precisely where the salt (Salish Sea) meets the great blue slate (Pacific Ocean). Both are guided by ancestral wisdom planted long before either of them existed. It is why they both know and love the water deeply. 

And depths I cannot see by Clare Johnson  

On View in Wallingford (N 35th St & Interlake Ave N) 

And depths I cannot see by Clare Johnson, photo taken by Ricky Reyes

Inspired by memories from local seniors and self-identified community elders, Clare Johnson’s installation visualizes their personal experiences of water. Community elders responded to a variety of questions about early memories of water—from their relationship to Pacific Northwest waters to the ways water connects to their identities or perspectives. 

Using direct quotes from the participants, the art explores their answers in more open-ended ways. Some pay homage to real places and things from individual memories, while others also imagine scenery that symbolize their perspectives.  

“Between the quotes and countless layers of detail in the drawings, every community member who responded is included in the installation in some way—with each banner interweaving aspects of many different people’s experiences,” shares Johnson.

Trim Trail by KT Hancock & Sarah Elizabeth Terry 

On View in East Ballard (NW 45th St. & 11th Ave NW) 

Trim Trail by KT Hancock & Sarah Elizabeth Terry, courtesy of the artists

When Trade Marx Sign, a 50-year-old Seattle sign company closed in 2020, artists KT Hancock and Sarah Elizabeth Terry salvaged leftover parts to create what is now Trim Trail. The materials are strategically arranged so that the threads combine to create a more dynamic, whole community. 

“There is this little bit of history that is now incorporated into the building of something new,” shares the artists. “Inspiration comes from the interconnected network that is our waterfront neighborhood in Ballard.” 

FLOW: Art Along the Ship Canal is an annual program that utilizes the construction fences along the Ship Canal Water Quality project as a backdrop to allow artists to showcase their unique voice and provide a changing gallery of experiences for those who walk, bike, drive along the Burke-Gilman Trail and throughout the area. 

Artists were selected by a panel of artists, community members, and City staff. The project is commissioned with SPU 1% for Art funds.