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Bridge Artists in Residence Showcase – ARTS at King Street Station Gallery

Artwork by Vivan Li - Each color of circle is a species of salmon, and the size of each circle represents the number of salmon on a given day.

Exhibition open First Thursday through Feb. 10, 2024

Come celebrate and view the culminating work of Vivian Li and Mariah Vicary, the 2023 SDOT Bridge Artists in Residence, this First Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, at ARTS at King Street Station! The Pacific Northwest-based artists will showcase their data visualization work produced during their unique project-based residencies in the University and Fremont bridges, respectively. (For a sneak peek, you can catch Mariah in the gallery Jan. 26-27 with live digital data visualization demos. Gallery hours are Wed. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on First Thursdays we’re open until 8 p.m.).

Designed by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the Bridge Artist in Residence program was devised in 2009 as a way to activate and celebrate some of Seattle’s historic bridges. Since then, artists have used space in the Fremont and University Bridges as both inspiration and studio space to explore these bridges’ roles and meanings for the city. Each iteration of the program has focused on a different artistic medium, including music, writing, lighting, and graphic novel residencies. The 2023 residency program focused on digital data visualization, with artists taking historic and modern data about the bridges and surrounding environment to create artworks that creatively display interpretations of these data sets.

This residency project is funded by SDOT’s 1% for Art Funds and administered by the Office of Arts & Culture.

Mariah Vicary

Artist Mariah Vicary, pictured on the shoreline, smiles into the camera.
SDOT Bridge Artist in Residence Mariah Vicary is pictured on the shoreline.

Mariah Vicary (see Artist Project website) is a generative artist and freelance web developer based out of Seattle, Washington. With a deep respect for the natural world and a profound appreciation for the power of technology, Mariah tries to integrate the two in the form of interactive real-time experiences. Each project is a unique journey, inviting you to involve yourself in the patterns, shapes, and colors of natural algorithms.

With a background in computer science and a love for visual surprises, she works through a process of experimentation and iteration, collaborating with technology to create interactions that are mesmerizing, thought-provoking and give the user the feeling of creating something unique every time they dive in.

Embarking on a creative journey inspired by my time in residence in the South tower of the University Bridge, this exhibition encompasses six unique immersive experiences that delve into the intricate balance between the bridge’s stark industrial architecture and the natural world, inviting viewers to perceive the bridge not merely as a structure but as a harmonious intersection of human ingenuity and the surrounding ecosystem.

SpawnScape from SDOT Bridge Artist in Residence Mariah Vicary

I incorporate MIDI and game controllers connected to projected visuals to provide a tangible, tactile connection between the users and the art, with the hope of fostering a deeper understanding of the bridge’s role in the broader ecological context.  It is my hope that as users engage with the installations, they move beyond merely observing data and become actively involved in understanding the intricate relationships between the bridge and its natural surroundings, helping conceptualize the thriving ecosystem living around and under the bridge at any given time.

The first piece visually interprets daily salmon spawning counts, as users interact with a custom salmon keyboard to switch between last year’s Chinook, Coho and Sockeye counts, a 3d model of the fish school controlled by a joystick helps the user visualize the total count for each day, translating raw numbers into an understandable visual representation.

Mariah Vicary

Mariah will be in the gallery performing live digital data visualization on Jan. 26 and 27 and Feb. 1, 2 and 3. See more of Mariah’s work on Instagram @fullmetalalgorist.

Vivian Li

A person with brown eyes and brown hair pulled back in a ponytail wears a grey t-shirt and holds a drawing pad and pencil. There are burnt orange colored window frames around them and a blue bridge in the background behind them.
SDOT Bridge Artist in Residence Vivian Li is pictured inside the Fremont Bridge tower.

Vivian Li (see Artist Project Website) is a Seattle-based illustrator, comics artist, and web developer. She uses watercolors and acrylics to tell funny, charming, and kind stories about occurrences both everyday and fantastic. In 2022, she released ABC Cooking, a comic cookbook developed with her mom to teach Chinese cooking to other second-generation Chinese kids like herself. Li developed the Explore AANHPI Heritages website, creating a map-based storytelling platform to share the experiences of Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander people in the Pacific Northwest. She is a teacher with Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program and is a big bridge and infrastructure enthusiast.

Colorful illustration of many vehicles and people walking and riding bikes and scooters.
Snapshot of the collection by Vivian Li

Vivian describes the Fremont Bridge and her residency experience in this way:

Blue and white comic book page featuring the artist working inside a bridge tower.
Comic Book Page from SDOT Artist in Residence Vivian Li

Since its opening in 1917, the Fremont Bridge has been connecting the people of Seattle on, over, below, and through it. People have more feelings about this bridge than most bridges – whether it’s annoyance for a commute delayed, pride for its unique colorway, or panic when quickly trying to find a way to capture it during an opening. During my residency, I explored different stories revealed through the data that gets generated around the bridge – from the salmon, to bikes, traffic, and of course, boats. Data is usually a serious business (with metrics being used to make important decisions), but my aim is to take the data that we generate and have fun with it – to tell a story, to make pretty pictures, and to find patterns created through a community. I created visualizations across the spectrum of technical complexity, from low-fidelity sketches recording what can be seen by one person, to discovering forms generated with code from data collected from embedded sensors, and creating interactive components that people can play with to make discoveries of their own.

Vivian Li

Learn more about Vivian on Instagram @vivianlikesfruit or at

We hope to see you Feb. 1, any time from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. for a celebration of these artists and a fun event!