Artist Elizabeth Gahan selected to create public artwork for new Lake City Park

The Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, has selected Seattle artist Elizabeth Gahan to create a permanent, site-specific artwork for a new park in Seattle’s Lake City Neighborhood.

The new neighborhood park located at 12510 33rd Ave NE, previously housed an office building that was purchased in 2010 as part of the Green Spaces Levy, and demolished early 2016. The park will serve Lake City’s growing population with much needed green space and provide a safe place to play, exercise and enjoy. Seattle Parks and Recreation has worked over the past year to gather community input into the overall design of this ¼ acre park.

Gahan will work closely with the design team to integrate artistic elements within the new park. Her artwork will consider the park location and conversations with the Lake City community will inform her work to create an interactive space that engages diverse audiences. Community conversations and design work will occur in early 2017, with the construction scheduled to start in late 2017/early 2018. “Elizabeth’s work will bring a positive energy to this area,” said community representative Cheryl Klinker. “This new park will offer a variety of activities to Lake City, and we think the color and style of her work will be an excellent fit to the neighborhood.”

Gahan is a Seattle-based artist. She received a dual undergraduate degree in Global Studies and Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s degree in Fine Art from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA with an emphasis in painting. Her current artwork considers relationships between natural and built environments as well as local community and global connectivity. Having completed numerous temporary commissions including Seattle Center’s Poetry Art Garden Series in 2016, Gahan has also recently been awarded commissions for new permanent artwork for the City of Spokane as well as a Washington State Arts Commission project at Washington Elementary School in Wenatchee, WA.

The artwork is being funded through Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Photo: ELIZABETH GAHAN, Urban Flora, 2014. 20′ x 4′ x 4′, Corrugated plastic ads, spray paint & wire

Description: Colorful corrugated plastic is manipulated to take on an organic form existing symbiotically with the host tree. Yet, the use of synthetic materials and ads points to a broader conversation of the impact of urban growth and consumer culture on the natural environment. 


In remembrance: Ted Jonsson

The Seattle area recently lost an important member of our arts community. Artist Ted Jonsson, passed away June 19 after a one year battle with ALS.

Jonsson was one of the first artists commissioned for an artwork under the 1% for art ordinance. The work, Chimera, completed in 1975 is located near the entrance of Seattle Public Utilities’ Operations Control Center, 2700 Airport Way South. The artwork consists of two curved, polished, stainless steel pipes, which begin at either end of a pool of water and meet at the pool’s center, curving upward in an “S” shape. The two pipes mirror one another, creating the symmetrical form of a figure eight. Water pours out of the top of each curved pipe in the center of the pool and splashes away toward the sides of the pool.

Ted Jonsson, Chimera, 1975, stainless-steel pipe, 10’H x 24’W x 5.5’D. Located at Seattle Public Utilities’ Operations Control Center, 2700 Airport Way South.

Jonsson wrote of the artwork, “The fountain’s concept is that of huge polished stainless steel pipes in a sculptural form extended by the shape of water projected out of two intricately designed orifices. These increase the illusion of tremendous volumes of water.”

Ted Jonsson studied sculpture and architecture at the University of Washington completing his MFA in sculpture in 1965. As the first BFA candidate at UC Davis before graduating in 1957, he played four years of first-string varsity football and then was commissioned into the US Army. There he achieved Captain rank as a US Army Aviator, ultimately piloting courier planes from Fort Lewis to the Yakima Firing Center thus becoming enamored with the Pacific Northwest.

Ted Jonsson’s commissioned artworks can be found throughout the state of Washington and in other states including California, Maryland and Alaska. His daughter Theodora Jonsson put it best, “his character and ability to see beyond all foreseeable odds will stay with us always as an example to live by.”

Celebrate new artwork at Westcrest Park Dedication

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Westcrest Park
9000 8th Ave SW, Seattle, 98106
This event is free

Please join us as we celebrate David Boyer’s new public artwork, Flyers, as part of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s community celebration at Westcrest Park’s new park space in the Highland Park neighborhood.

Flyers, a new artwork by David Boyer, consists of 15 bird- and plane-like kinetic sculptures mounted on steel poles. Grouped in three locations around the park, the sculptures will move to face the wind and the articulated tails will pivot as the wind blows. Boyer’s inspiration for Flyers comes from airplanes in the SeaTac flight path and birds in the Duwamish Greenbelt. His artwork was placed in the new park space in Westcrest Park created by covering the West Seattle Reservoir. The artist worked with Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks and Recreation and local community members to develop the wind-driven artwork.

Getting there: Limited parking in the park and area streets is available. The site is accessible by King County Metro Transit route 131.

Flyers was commissioned with Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Parks and Green Spaces Levy 1% for Art funds.

Image: Flyers, powder coated steel and stainless steel, 2014. Photo: Jason Huff

VERA Project’s posters are a hit at City Hall

The VERA Project, an all-ages volunteer-fueled music and arts venue, is celebrating its 14th year of operation as Seattle’s first and foremost producer of all-ages music concerts in Seattle! Vera’s mission is to foster a participatory creative culture through popular music concerts, arts programs, experiential learning and volunteer opportunities for all ages, especially youth.

The exhibition, The Vera Project: 14 years of True and Sincere Friends kicked off Wednesday, July 8 with a reception in the lobby of City Hall. On view is a retrospective of posters created at Vera, chronicling 14 years of all-ages popular music concerts in Seattle. Along with the visual posters are compelling testimonials from volunteers about how Vera has affected and changed their lives.

As Shannon Halberstadt stated: “when the Vera Project first started, it was a major force in Seattle and difficult NOT to be involved. It was a gorgeous mash up of art, music, and activism, and something people were eager to support. I was working at the Old Firehouse in Redmond at the time, and ties were very tight between the two all-ages venues. Kate Becker was a great leader at both venues back then.”

Not only do the Vera Project staff and volunteers produce the posters and music concerts, they also have classes in audio engineering, DJ-ing, music writing, concert lighting, live sound engineering, drum  tuning, multi-track recording, and of course art classes, including screen printing and color theory.

So next time you’re at the Seattle Center, stop in and see their facilities or become involved by volunteering! In the meantime, stop into the City Hall Lobby Gallery and the Anne Focke Gallery to see this fantastic exhibition. The gallery is located at 600 Fourth Avenue, downtown Seattle.

Photos by S.M. Stephens

Vivian Phillips is new Seattle Arts Commission chair

The Seattle Arts Commission and the Office of Arts & Culture welcomes new chair Vivian Phillips, director of marketing and communications for the Seattle Theatre Group. Phillips succeeds Michael Seiwerath who will become vice chair. The Seattle Arts Commission is an advocacy and advisory body for the City of Seattle. As a priority for 2015, the group has committed to addressing racial inequity in the arts and recently completed a two-day racial equity training, led by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.

“This is an extremely exciting time to be leading a body whose work has been critical to the arts vitality of our city.  Amid equally critical challenges facing our region and the world, I am honored to take up the mantle and lead the charge for greater equity in the arts as well as continuing the important work of assuring that the arts continues to be top of mind for our policy-makers.  Michael set the stage with his apt leadership and I hope to perform in a way that strengthens what is already in play,” says Phillips.

Phillips is the director of marketing and communications for Seattle Theatre Group, where she oversees the marketing, communications and social media engagement for three historic theatres in Seattle. Previously she’s served as the managing director for Hansberry Project at ACT Theatre, executive manager for the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, and communications director at the office of Mayor Paul Schell. Vivian has served on a variety of arts boards and commissions, as well as having been an adjunct professor at Seattle University’s MFA Arts Management Program.  In addition to the Arts Commission, Vivian currently serves on the Puget Sound Public Radio/ KUOW Board of Directors, and represents Seattle Theatre Group to the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium.  An avid arts advocate, Vivian is dedicated to assuring access to enriching arts and cultural experiences and mentoring upcoming arts leaders

The 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council, supports the office of Arts & Culture’s mission to activate and sustain Seattle through arts and culture. Commission members include artists, arts professionals and other citizens with diverse backgrounds and strong links to Seattle’s arts community.

For more information on the Seattle Arts Commission, go here:


Photo Credit: Vivian Phillips