Waterways, 2019
Water-activated temporary street art, 3’x3′
October 2019 – January 2020

Waterways was a series of twelve temporary rain-activated medallions placed on sidewalks at intersections along the future tunnel’s path that correspond to where surface water runs toward the Ship Canal. The medallions featured imagery developed through public engagement workshops conducted from June-September 2019 in the Wallingford, Fremont, and Ballard neighborhoods. Drawing activities centered on two conceptual prompts: 1) Water is a shared resource we can’t live without. 2) When it rains, our streets transform into creeks and rivers. Participants were asked to think about all the ways we use water and create a drawing within a droplet to represent those activities, and to map potential routes of water along surface streets to the ocean. These introspections fostered a sense of mutual responsibility for our water systems. By reflecting on the many ways we need water to live, work, and play, we acknowledge that we all personally benefit from access to clean water. Through tracing paths from where we use water to the ocean, we recognize that our cities are integrated into a natural weather system and that hard-scapes channel water in ways that effect the environment. As this is a system in which we all live, engage, and benefit, we a share an ethical and moral imperative to support its protection and management.

Waterways was a conceptual design development project for a permanent public art installation planned for 2023 at the Wallingford East Side Shaft site. The medallions are a jumping off point for further exploring our everyday use of water in ways that link to streetscapes, draw attention to invisible systems and emphasize our personal and communal relationships to our immediate environment and greater ecosystems.

Commissioned by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and Seattle Public Utilities.
This project is a part of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project.