Located at the corner of Rainier Ave. S. at 51st Ave. S. and Barton Place S. artist Peter Reiquam’s The King and Queen of Rainier Beach is an iconic sculpture inspired by Seattle Police Detective, Denise “Cookie” Bouldin and the chess clubs she has organized throughout the Rainier Beach community for over a decade. The figures stand 120” high and are 96” wide and 48” deep.
The game of chess serves as a metaphor for life’s important decisions and Detective Cookie’s Chess Clubs create an opportunity for community members of all ages to interact through a spirit of friendly competition. Paying homage to the chess club, the sculptures also represent the proud nature of the residents of Rainier Beach. The artworks are on a light-sensitive solar powered LED system, so when it is dark the sculptures are illuminated. The community has been awarded a Department of Neighborhood’s Neighborhood Matching Fund grant to develop a concept for a chess park in the vicinity.
The King and Queen of Rainier Beach is part of SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, created to ensure that kids can walk to school safely. One of the methods to make walking routes more visible is to install artwork along common routes students take.
Peter Reiquam earned his MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art and has been creating site-specific interactive public artworks for 30 years throughout the Puget Sound region as well as in Los Angeles, CA, Albuquerque, NM and Juneau, AK. His works range from sculptural seating to rocket ships and each is a response to the unique character and culture of its location. Using a variety of materials including metals, stone, glass and light, Reiquam strives to create durable, well-crafted and meaningful works that speak to the uniqueness of each one’s site and to do so with a balance of humor, elegance and sophistication.
Funded with Seattle Department of Transportation 1 % for Art funds.
Photo courtesy the Office of Arts & Culture