New Artwork at 23rd & Union

November 1, 2016

The Department of Arts & Culture selected Martha Jackson Jarvis of Washington, DC, to design the new art installation at 23rd & Union. The following description of the work comes from a fact sheet prepared by the City’s Department of Art & Culture:


“Martha Jackson Jarvis’ artwork is a sculptural seating arrangement with forms based on West African and Native American symbols. Multi-color mosaic covers the sculpture’s base and seating elements. The artwork is located in a new curb bulb on the SE corner of 23rd Avenue and Union Street, providing a marker for entry in the neighborhood. SDOT considerations regarding sight-lines and pedestrian and vehicular visibility rendered this the most appropriate location.

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


Meanwhile the fate of the James Washington, Jr. Fountain at this site is still undecided. This summer Barbara Parker, Madrona News Editor, wrote a beautiful application for consideration of historical preservation of the fountain. However, only works 25 years or older are considered and the Washington fountain is 22 years old— despite the fact that James Washington Jr.’s artistic reputation was well established 22 years again.


The spokesperson was very rigid about the rules but on further questioning, I discovered that the “immutable rules” were laid down by a City Council some years ago. I pointed out that what the City Council decrees, the City Council could also undo. I think there is a letter-writing project in my future.


~Diane Snell

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