Public art projects honored by Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review

Americans for the Arts honored 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2017 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects include three from Seattle’s Public Art Program.

The three projects that were recognized are:

Vessels by Nicole Kistler: Vessels are a series of cast iron sculptures that dot the community garden on Seattle Public Utilities property at Beacon Reservoir. Building on the inspiration of the reservoir as a container, they evoke puffball mushrooms holding spores, berries holding seeds, seed pods, and ceramic water jugs. The sculptures also hold stories from the community. Kistler interviewed Beacon Food Forest volunteers and neighbors over several summer months capturing food stories and traditions on audio and imbedded phrases into the permanent works. Commissioned with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art Funds.

BorderLands: The first exhibition ARTS organized at King Street Station, BorderLands featured 2D- and 3D works from the City’s collection as well as site-specific installations. The exhibition, focusing on themes of belonging and resistance, was on view on the third floor of King Street Station.

Poetry on Buses, a collaboration with 4Culture and funded through Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds: Poetry on Buses invited King County residents to create, share, and experience poetry on public transit, online, and in community on the theme “Your Body of Water.”

Dating back to 1992, Poetry on Buses was reimagined in 2014 to foster relationships with immigrant and undeserved communities, featured multiple languages, and transformed the commute for culture—on bus and on smartphone. The 2017-18 program was multi-modal and featured poetry in nine languages.

“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”

The projects selected for Year in Review can be viewed on this page and were on display throughout the Annual Convention. Three independent public art experts—Bryan Lee, Jr., director of design at Colloqate Design in New Orleans; Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons in Los Angeles; and Denver artist Patrick Marold—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2017. This is the 17th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at


Poetry on Buses Road Show: Lunar New Year

Poetry works in metaphors, but we’re being literal when we tell you this: An upcoming poetry event will transport you.

If you take the First Hill Street Car from Broadway to the International District for this year’s Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, February 11, between Noon and 1:30pm, you will be treated to a live poetry reading along the way. In concert with King County Metro’s Poetry on Buses program, which has placed more than 350 original poems on local transit like Metro buses and the street car, several Asian and American Asian local aspiring poets will read their work on the way to the annual festivities.

Late in 2016 working with 4Culture, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Metro, Sound Transit, and Seattle Streetcar, King County Metro received thousands of submissions in its “Poetry on Buses” project, soliciting poetry from King County residents. The only guidelines? The poems had to be 50-words or less and had to focus on the decidedly Pacific Northwest theme “Your Body of Water.”

On this special Sunday, several aspiring poets from the Asian and Asian American community will be reading their winning submissions on the route between Denny Way and the ID.

“Your Body of Water”: Poetry on Buses launches 2016-2017 season theme

Poems will be accepted starting May 15

April 21, 2016 – In celebration of National Poetry Month and just in time for Earth Day, 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is proud to announce a brand new season of Poetry on Buses focused on the theme of water. The program has expanded to offer community sourced poetry in nine languages on a broad range of bus, rail and station venues.

Poet Planner and Theme Developed by Jourdan Keith, Poetry on Buses’ 2016 Poet Planner, the theme “Your Body of Water” is a poetic exploration of the meaning of water and its local stewardship by King County and Seattle Public Utilities.

“We are all bodies of water, connected to one another through the water web,” says Keith. “Your body of water is connected to streams, rivers, lakes, tides, waterfalls, toilets and faucets…to present homes, childhood homes and ancestral ones by memory, by the water cycle, and by stories. Come tell your story through poetry.”

Keith brings her experience as a poet, playwright, creative non-fiction writer and founding Director of Urban Wilderness Project to the program. She believes that connecting to the natural world is critical to restoring communities and has over 15 years of experience in project management as an artist, environmental educator, community organizer and social justice advocate.

Call for Poems Individuals can submit a poem online starting May 15 through September 30. Anyone who resides in King County, Washington is eligible to submit one poem up to 50 words in length on the theme of water. For more information and to submit a poem go to

Community Poetry Workshops Starting in May, a series of free community poetry workshops will be held to encourage the public to submit a poem. They can explore poetic traditions as well as their local and global connection to water and how it is protected and cared for by Seattle Public Utilities and King County’s Wastewater Treatment and Water and Land Resources divisions.

Community liaisons are working collaboratively with poets and Poetry on Buses staff to shape bilingual workshops tailored to the needs of Seattle and King County’s diverse communities. Workshops focused on the Chinese, Ethiopian, Punjabi, Spanish speaking, African American and Tlingit communities will be held from May through September. Everyone is welcome to attend a workshop.

Partnerships An expanded Poetry on Buses program is made possible through a partnership between 4Culture, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Sound Transit, King County Metro, King County Wastewater Treatment Division, King County Water and Land Resources Divisions, and Seattle Public Utilities. Poetry on Buses is managed by the Public Art staff at 4Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture using both transit- and water-related Percent-for-Art Dollars and Equity Initiative funds allocated for the commissioning and management of art in public space. It is supported through a grant from Amazon Literary Partnership.

About Poetry on Buses Poetry on Buses began in 1992 as a partnership between 4Culture and King County Metro Transit to present poetry by local community members on buses.. It was rebooted in 2014-15 with poems and workshops in five languages, an online poetry portal (showcasing 365 poems – one new poem released every day of the year) and a focus on Metro Transit’s RapidRide.

For more information and images contact:

Christina DePaolo, 4Culture, (206) 263-1588 Erika Lindsay, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, (206) 684-4337

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Water is the new muse for Poetry on Buses

Popular poetry program launches a region wide effort in 2016-17

SEATTLE (February 8, 2016) – After a successful reboot in 2014, Poetry on Buses is now going region-wide, sharing locally-sourced poems in at least eight languages across multiple transit systems, an online portal, and in communities across King County.

The program will be formally announced and launch to the public on Earth Day, April 22, 2016 and detailed information will be available at Residents will have through October 2016 to submit poems for consideration and the poetry will roll out on transit and online in April 2017, just in time for National Poetry Month.

Poetry on Buses is expanding this year thanks to funds from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) 1% for art funds. In celebration of this, residents will be invited to submit poems on the theme of water. Exploring a water-related theme has local resonance as well as universal significance; water defines our geographic landscape and impacts our health and wellbeing on a daily basis, and offers rich poetic possibilities.

A series of community poetry workshops will be held during the spring and summer months to encourage the public to submit poetry, explore the theme and multiple poetic traditions, and foster creative thinking and expression. Community liaisons and poets in Amharic, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish-speaking and Urban Native communities will create custom, bilingual workshops to reach Seattle and King County’s diverse communities.

The program is further expanding to present poems on a broader range of buses, light rail, street car and station venues. This is in thanks to a partnership between 4Culture, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Sound Transit.

About Poetry on Buses

Poetry on Buses began in 1992 as a partnership between 4Culture and King County Metro Transit to present poetry from the local community on placards found right above bus seats. It was rebooted in 2014-15 with poems and workshops in five languages, an online poetry portal (showcasing 365 poems – one new poem released every day of the year) and a focus on Metro Transit’s RapidRide.


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Office of Arts & Culture | Seattle The Office of Arts & Culture envisions a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. The Office is supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council. Find out more at Follow @SeattleArts or


4Culture As the cultural funding agency for King County, 4Culture works to make our region vibrant. Using lodging tax and percent-for-art funds, 4Culture’s four main program areas—arts, heritage, historic preservation, and public art—put public resources to work in your community.