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Investment in Art Benefits Local Community

COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport More Information

June 8, 2020

Art matters more now than ever during COVID-19. In periods of crisis and isolation, artists capture and document the moments, feelings, and stories of our community. Artists are also among those economically impacted by the global pandemic. 

In May, the Port of Seattle released open calls for the public art collection at SEA, for locations including the North Satellite Nursing Suite, Interfaith Prayer & Meditation Room, and SEA Employee Services Center. 
Funding for these projects was approved prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. Rather than cutting this funding as part of larger COVID-19 related belt-tightening efforts, the Port recognized the need to support artists and the economic stimulus they provide directly to the local community. 

“Last year, before COVID-19, the Port Commission restored to one percent the Port Public Arts Program funding for capital projects Port-wide,” said Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “Our vision is to return the Port of Seattle to its leadership position among ports as an acclaimed regional arts center. But with COVID-19, the arts community has been hit especially hard with theaters shut down and museums closed for business. We must support our arts community and public art in our facilities, which is why I pushed for the arts to be part of the Port’s economic recovery plan.” 

Approximately $76,000 was invested in 17 artworks by 15 different Pacific Northwest artists. Thirteen of those artists live in Washington state.

The value in both the short and long-term is significant. It’s an opportunity to support the local art community during the economic challenges of COVID-19 while beautifying airport spaces and diversifying the Port’s art collection for the future. 

These acquisitions will also dramatically increase the representation of women and minority artists. Ten of the 15 artists selected are women. Seven of those 15 artists are people of color, which doubles the minority artists now included in the SEA art collection.

“I can tell you that this purchase has meant everything to me in these uncertain times,” said Lauren Boilini, a Seattle-based painter. “As a result of the pandemic I had to cancel an exhibition, a residency, and a book premiere and quarantine away from my studio for 10 weeks. Many in my community have struggled, but this public art opportunity has allowed me to pay it forward to my peers. With this monetary security I have been a better teacher to my students and a more supportive partner. This has allowed me to pay rent on the two places I cannot go at this time, my studio and apartment. It opens doors to my future, which will hopefully snowball into bigger things. One seemingly small thing can have a ripple effect through these challenging times, and I am grateful to the Port for extending their public art program to purchase local art.”

By purchasing existing, recent work, these visual assets will create a Pacific Northwest sense of place at SEA and serve as a timestamp to COVID-19. Explore this list of the artists and their work.

Interfaith Prayer & Meditation Room

  • Weston Lambert, Title TBD
  • June Sekiguchi, Title TBD

North Satellite Nursing Suite  

  • Lauren Boilini, Title As Above, So Below 

Lauren Boilini, Title As above, So Below

  • Malayka Gormally, Title Young Mother, Members of the Ethiopian community in Seattle

Malayka Gormally, Title Young Mother, Members of the Ethiopian community in Seattle

  • Malayka Gormally, Title Grandmother and Grandson, Members of the Ethiopian community in Seattle

Malayka Gormally, Title Grandmother and Grandson, Members of the Ethiopian community in Seattle

  • Leah M. Nguyen, Title Yellow Bear 15

Leah M. Nguyen, Title Yellow Bear 15

  • Tyna Ontko, Title Garden

Tyna Ontko, Title Garden

SEA Employee Services Center

  • Stonington Gallery (Dennis Allen and Jason Hunt), Titles Eyes of the Orca and Owl Moon

Eyes of the Orca
Dennis Allen, Title Eyes of the Orca
Jason Hunt, Title Owl Moon
Jason Hunt, Title Owl Moon

  • Andy Arkley, Titles Fancypants #3 and Fancypants #4

Andy Arkley, Title Fancypants #3

  • Gretchen Frances Bennett, Title Light Through Trees, from Celine Sciamma’s film, ‘Tomboy’

Gretchen Frances Bennett, Title Light Through Trees, from Celine Sciamma’s film, ‘Tomboy’

  • Soo Hong, Title Rainbow After the Rain

Soo Hong, Title Rainbow After the Rain

  • David Hytone, Title Mother’s Day

David Hytone, Title Mother’s Day

  • Naoko Morisawa, Title New Wave

Naoko Morisawa, Title New Wave

  • J. Rinehart Gallery (Jennifer Zwick), Title Yes

J. Rinehart Gallery (Jennifer Zwick), Title Yes

  • Monica Quarto, Title Salish Sea

Monica Quarto, Title Salish Sea

 

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