Seattle AIDS Memorial Selects Lead Artist

Community leaders, in partnership with the City of Seattle, are poised to move forward on a plan to create an AIDS memorial on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

In March 2018, The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway and Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture issued a call for artists to submit qualifications for the project, which will be a physical place for remembrance and reflection, utilizing technology to share stories about the epidemic and the diverse community responses to the crisis and providing a call to action to end HIV/AIDS, stigma, and discrimination.

A five-member, community-based selection panel reviewed the submissions and interviewed three finalists in June. The committee assisted by advisers, also community based, selected social practice artist Horatio Hung-Yan Law to lead a team of artists to complete the project. Law pursued at MFA at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. The impetus for his arts degree was his first-hand experience during the early years of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

“Much of my work stems from my identity and experience as a gay US citizen of Asian heritage,” says Law. “Social interaction and community participation are important aspects in my installation work and public art projects. I create work for regular people that examines issues of identity, memory, history and the meaning of community. As a public artist who is interested in socially engaged work, I value collaboration and partnership with community members through collecting ideas, cultural materials, and engaging residents in planning and production of public art.”

“Horatio has created wonderful works of public art in Seattle and other communities,” according to Tom Rasmussen, The AMP’s Chair. “We’re thrilled to work with this talented and sensitive artist. There will be many opportunities for public involvement as he begins to develop the art plan for the AMP.”

Horatio Law’s public art portfolio includes works created for the City of Tacoma, the Housing Authority of Portland, City of Seattle, Oregon State Hospital, Sisters of the Road, Tri-Met’s Portland-Milwaukee Light-Rail Line, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Seattle’s Asian Counseling and Referral Service.

The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway is part of the Seattle Capitol Hill Light Rail Station Development, a long-awaited and transformational project for the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Slated to open in mid-2020, The AMP will be located on the north edge of Cal Anderson Park and on the public plaza of the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. The Station will include four buildings and will provide 428 apartments, including 178 affordable apartments, and ground floor retail. The development will also include a community room available to the public and a public plaza that will serve as the home of Capitol Hill Neighborhood Farmers Market as well as a venue for other community events.

Information about Horatio Law and the project’s history, site selection, and current status is available at

The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway is supported by the City of Seattle, the Seattle Parks Foundation, Pride Foundation, Lucky 7 Foundation, and individual donors.

Image: Lost & Found
10′ x 30′ x 30′
Screen size: 8′ x 8′
Mixed-media installation.
Single-Channel Video Projection on Silk Rose Petals and Red Thread. Image Gallery, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon
An installation with projection and sound on a screen made of silk rose-petal and red silk thread. The projection is a series of portraits of Portland parents and their adopted Chinese children projected on an 8’x8′ screen; a soundtrack of a Buddhist chant plays softly in the background. The installation is a meditation on conflicting issues raised by trans-cultural adoptions: individuals and the collective, uniqueness and commonality, longing and belonging, loss and gain. The screen symbolically and literally stitched the family together, as the screen itself was communally constructed by families and friends over several weeks.


Arts in Parks returns to Seattle Parks this summer

Events and art installations June through November 2018

Now in its third year, Arts in Parks, a partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Office of Arts & Culture, is offering a number of free events and temporary art projects that will activate community parks this summer. From June through November 2018 Seattleites and visitors will be treated to events for the whole family, from Shakespeare In The Park to Paint and Smoothies. There is something for everyone this summer! For more information and a calendar guide about the events visit here. Check out the Arts in Parks 2018 brochure for events and art installations at a park near you.

Arts in Parks supports 38 events through $205,000 invested in the community through grants and temporary public art projects. The Arts in Parks program invests in new and established community festivals, art happenings and music concerts that enliven Seattle parks by promoting arts and culture, celebrating our diversity, building community connections and energizing parks while connecting with underserved communities.

Programs include events, series, public art installations, and family-friendly kid centered activities in neighborhood parks throughout the northeast, northwest, central, southeast and southwest regions.

Highlights include: 

Six Walls at Pritchard Park: An art installation at Pritchard Island Beach made of six freestanding gallery walls that will display the work of local Black artists. Participants are asked to bring one piece of their own artwork to drop-off points across the city; the first 25 artists will have their work shown. This project hopes to provide a welcoming space for Black artists to show their work. Created by artist Khadija Tarver. 

TUFFEST: This annual festival presented by TUF is a celebration of visual art and music with the addition of educational workshops. The event centers marginalized communities, including people of color, women, and trans and gender-nonconforming folks. 

ANiMA: a cultural event celebrating ancestry and heritage through interactive, multimedia performances and storytelling. Artists perform original music with live projected animation, shadow dancing and puppetry with an invocation led by Korean drumming group Olleam, community activist group Sahngnoksoo and LQ Lion Dance. This event will occur during the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, a time of paying homage to ancestors that are believed to visit the living during this time.

Theater for Young Children: Performances and music from Latin America, written for ages 3-9 and fun for all.

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


Fremont Bridge will be a temporary studio for sound artist Paurl Walsh this summer

Beginning June 2018, the northwest tower of the Fremont Bridge will be a temporary studio for musician and composer Paurl Walsh. Walsh will be able to use the tower space as a source of inspiration to compose and create a sound-based piece in response to the summer residency. He will also engage in several community outreach events and a public performance will be presented at the close of the residency, in late summer or early fall 2018. The musician-in-residence will run June through August.

Walsh was selected by a panel, facilitated by the Office of Arts & Culture, that included musical artists and community members and advised by the Seattle Department of Transportation. His selection was based on his impressive career and his focus on collaboration with players throughout the region. His proposal included a desire to create a work that investigates the inherent collision between creative creativity and mental health, which resonated with the selection panel.

Paurl Walsh graduated from Cornish College with a degree in Classical Composition and Electro-acoustic music. He is an active composer of electronic music, modern classical chamber music, music for dance and theatre, and experimental rock. Writing and performing throughout the US, Canada, and Europe, he has been a core member of the experimental performance art/music groups Degenerate Art Ensemble, Implied Violence, and St Genet. He founded experimental hardcore band X-Ray Press, electronic pop group Rainbows, electroacoustic duo Medina/Walsh, and solo electronic act Trying. He has scored many stage works for choreographers and theater artists such as Kyle Loven, Ezra Dickinson, Peggy Piacenza, Paige Barnes, Paris Hurley, and PE|Mo. He also runs ExEx Audio, a creative recording studio centered around working collaboratively with artists to help them better express themselves through sound.

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

In remembrance: Merrily Tompkins

Artist and metalsmith Merrily Tompkins, whose artwork is represented in the permanent public art collection, has passed away. 

Originally working as a jewelry maker and silversmith, Ms. Tompkins joined the design team for the Creston Nelson Substation, a Seattle City Light facility in South Seattle, in the late 1970’s. Working alongside artists Clair Colquitt and Ries Niemi, she created several artworks, including Tesla’s Head, which served as a planter in the form of the electrical pioneer Nikolai Tesla and was installed in 1982.  

This artwork fell into disrepair and was eventually remade and re-sited at Seattle City Light’s North Service Center, and re-titled Big Tesla. Covered in mosaics and planted with grasses and trailing plants, it rests in a courtyard at this city facility. The artist initially selected Tesla to relate to the electrical theme of the original site, and as her artwork evolved, she wrote: “I realized that  . . . making the . . . .grasses  . . . seem to emerge from Tesla’s head was also a kind of visual reference to his enormous, ubiquitous contribution to the ‘domestication’ of electrical power.” 

“Merrily had a great sense of humor and working with her was always fun. Big Tesla is both an out-sized head and a delicately worked mosaic artwork, intricate in its detail.