Fall 2015 Public Art Conservation Highlights

Whether you live, work or play in the city, chances are good that you’ve run into construction resulting from the Mercer Corridor Project, an improvement project stretching along Mercer Street from I-5 to 5th Avenue West. Portions of the project included sidewalk renovations in front of the Phelps Center, where two Chinese Guardian Lion sculptures have stood guard since 1974.

This project gave conservation staff a chance to carefully clean and apply protective coatings to the longstanding pair. The Guardian Lions were given to the city from Taiwan as a memento of their participation in the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. The sculptures were carved by Chinese artisans under the supervision of the Taiwan Handicraft Promotion Center. Seattle City Councilman, Wing Luke was instrumental in the city receiving this gift in 1963.

On a foggy day at Magnuson Park your eyes might just deceive you into thinking you’ve happened upon an earth-bound pod of killer whales. But this imaginative installation is actually comprised of inverted diving fins from decommissioned US Navy attack submarines.

Working in collaboration with artist John Young and former students from the University of Washington, the fins were treated for corrosion and re-painted in September to restore their luminous surfaces.

Bordering the northeast corner of Beacon Hill is an expansive golf course with a resonant history. In 1915, Jefferson Park Municipal Golf Course opened to the public after golf activists E.C. Cheasty and Sherwood Gillespy presented the Seattle City Council with a 1,000 signature petition requesting the creation of an 18-hole course at Jefferson Park. Unfortunately, both men passed away before knowing if their efforts were successful, yet in honor of his tireless dedication, friends of Sherwood Gillespy commissioned Danish sculptor Max Nielson to create a bronze sculpture in his likeness. This year marks 100 years that the statue has welcomed visitors to the clubhouse, and conservation activities included fabrication and replacement of the bronze reservoirs that embellish the granite foundation.