Public Art Piece debuts at 23rd Avenue Corridor in Central Area

Artist Martha Jackson Jarvis has installed a sculptural artwork entitled Union by on the southeast corner of 23rd Avenue and Union Street in conjunction with the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project in the Central Area. The work was commissioned by the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) in partnership with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

The piece is a sculptural seating arrangement with forms inspired by West African and Native American symbols. The totemic nature of the sculpture establishes a memorable sense of place, and multi-color mosaic tiles cover the sculpture’s base and seating elements. Jackson Jarvis was asked to investigate the concept of “place,” highlighting historically relevant narratives of the neighborhood and its residents, taking into account the changing demographics of the Central Area, as well as geography, topography, and environment.

Jackson Jarvis worked with SDOT designers, staff of several city departments and community members to develop the proposal for the artwork. Community residents and business owners wanted the artwork to serve as a gathering place, identifier, and gateway for the neighborhood.

Jackson Jarvis grew up in Lynchburg, VA and Philadelphia, PA and currently resides in Washington, D.C. Her work explores issues of conservation and people’s relationship to natural materials and landscapes, drawing uncommon analogies between disparate forms, objects and materials to construct narratives of real and imagined landscapes. Jackson Jarvis studied at Howard University and received her BFA degree from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and MFA degree from Antioch University. Her sculptures have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Studio Museum of Harlem, N.Y. Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island, N.Y.; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Anacostia Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia.

The funding for this project comes from Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Art funds.