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In 1861 the University of Washington, a single-building campus, was located in the heart of downtown Seattle. The fashionable classical language at the time placed the symmetrical front façade on axis with University Street, making a symbolic connection to the Seattle waterfront. In 1909 the original building was shifted to make way for subsequent development that occupied what became commonly known as the ‘Metropolitan Tract,’ owned and leased by the University of Washington. This fragment of downtown Seattle history has inspired our team to recuperate the linkage and meaning of Washington at the Harbor Steps. In contrast to the present campus in the University district, our team enlarges and monumentalizes the importance of Washington in our nation’s history, against the backdrop of our current divided politics.
It is important to reflect, “After a military victory in 1783 Washington resigned as commander-in-chief rather than seize power, proving his opposition to dictatorship… [Washington] worked to unify rival factions in the fledgling nation…” —Wikipedia
This forgotten memory is more important than ever. The symbolic linkage between Seattle’s urban history, American history and current society is embodied by a monumental version of Washington. The bust itself, a 10 feet tall construction rests at Harbor Steps, like a pixelated image, but in three dimensions. Centered on the cross axis of University Street and Post Alley this ‘monument’ seeks to generate dialogue, elicit delight in the experience of figurative sculpture and as a message to our contemporary culture via digital design. Seating from last year’s ‘carved from color’ installation along with documentation about Washington will be located on First Avenue for this grand installation. Passersby are invited to sit and reflect on the historical figure head of our state and his belief in the power of unity.