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Rock Stack, Seattle’s newest artwork, unveiled in Lake City Park 

Artist Elizabeth Gahan with Rock Stack; Photo by Maija McKnight

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) celebrates the newest permanent public artwork located in Lake City Park (12510 33rd Ave. NE), Rock Stack, by artist Elizabeth Gahan. Conceived by Gahan, the artwork strives to embody the community’s aspirations for the new park as a safe gathering space that acknowledges the diverse neighborhood. Rock Stack is inspired by Cairns, a historic form of wayfinding or commemoration, which has become a common occurrence on hiking trails and destinations all over the world. Please join us for the public dedication on Saturday, October 8, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Poster courtesy of Seattle Parks & Recreation

Through meeting and working with community members, the artist created this public artwork to reinforce the idea of the park as a gathering place and to serve as a focal point for shared community experiences. 

Rock Stack represents a universal instinct to build, communicate across cultures and languages, and create a unique mark to be shared with a broader community. Furthermore, what gives this experience a soulful beauty is that the forms come from nature and are an extension of the surrounding natural landscape. In this way, a rock stack signifies a connection to both nature and community which is also what the sculpture will represent in the context of the Lake City park.”

Elizabeth Gahan, Artist 

This large-scale, painted steel sculpture is a welcoming beacon positioned along the sidewalk at the main entrance to the new park. Visible from the street and throughout the park, it adds a unique character, serves as a visual marker, and symbolically represents the transition into a creative community space.   Approximately 16’ high and 8’ wide this colorful sculpture is a series of “rocks” that seemingly defy gravity. The colors transition from darker jewel tones nearest to the ground, to brighter warmer tones towards the top as it grows closer to the sun. The dominant color scheme yellow-green-blue refers to nature and is accented with contrasting red stripes to create a sense of upward movement. Most importantly, the color scheme evokes a welcoming and celebratory feel, which reflects the community’s hope for the positive impact this park and artwork will have on the neighborhood.  

Photo by Maija McKnight

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Public Art program commissions artists to integrate artworks across Seattle that express our community values in the public realm. 1% of eligible city capital improvement project funds are dedicated to commissioning public art informed through a community process. Rock Stack is funded through Seattle Parks and Recreation % for Art. 

Gahan is a Seattle-based artist and her artwork considers relationships between natural and built environments, as well as local community and global connectivity. Gahan has been awarded multiple fellowships, grants, and public commissions including Washington State Arts Commission, City of Tukwila Public Art Collection, Boston Children’s Hospital, and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Washington DC. Gahan was recognized in the Americans for the Arts 2014 Public Art Network Year in Review.  

Seattle Parks and Recreation is also launching the naming process for the park. Visit their website to learn more.