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Energized: Art at the Substation 

Two New Temporary Artworks on View at Ballard Seattle City Light Substations

Energized: Art at the Substation, a year-long initiative at two inactive Ballard substations by the Office of Art & Culture 1% for Art Program and Seattle City Light, features outdoor installations by artists using utilitarian fencing as an artistic canvas. On display through August 2023, the temporary artwork installations at 1414 Leary and 2826 Market Street, features artists Cable Griffith and Gerardo Peña (aka Periko the Artist). Both artists created new artwork for these site locations. Following Griffith and Peña, two new artworks will be on display from August 2023 through February 2024 by artists Devin Finley and Adrienne La Faye. Energized was created to support local artists through commissioning new artworks as well as to beautify the inactive substations. 

Located at 2826 Market Street, near the National Nordic Museum, is the installation by local artist Cable Griffith titled Borderlines. It is a rhythmic installation of colorful and reflective shapes, camouflaging a fence around an empty lot. Created from a series of cut-out Plexiglas shapes or ‘glyphs’, the design reflects the artists’ artistic studio and public artwork.  

Inspired by the location, Cable further explains “Urban fencing is commonly used to restrict movement through otherwise open spaces. As such, this separation can sometimes provide nature time and space to regrow and regain a kind of urban “wildness.” Plants within this perimeter can grow freely, sometimes offering the opportunity for an ecosystem to rebound, even temporarily. At the threshold between public and private, order and wilderness, the shapes acknowledge a connection between natural forms and urban gestures.

At 1414 Leary Street is the installation, The Great Inheritance by local artist Gerardo Peña (aka Periko the Artist). The Great Inheritance is a large vinyl banner reproduction of Periko’s original painting created for this site location. Inspired by the site which was a former substation and will become the Raven Village Tiny Home Village, run and operated by Chief Seattle Club, this bold eye-catching artwork commands attention as people pass by.  The imagery illustrates an Elder who is passing a lightbulb to the younger generation which represents the gift of knowledge and wisdom.   

About Seattle Public Art Program 

The 1% for art ordinance established that all Capital Construction departments should include “an amount for works of art equal to at least one percent (1%) of the total cost of any such construction project.” The Public Art Program encompasses the Civic Art Collection (400 permanently sited/integrated artworks and over 4,000 portable artworks); temporary art opportunities, artist-in-residence programs, Public Art Plans for Capital Departments. In addition, the program includes three galleries (ARTS at King Street Station, City Hall, Seattle Municipal Tower), and Public Art Boot Camp, a capacity-building program for emerging artists.