Courtesy of Kirk Seese. An example of his debut sculpture, “The Feather” that may be seen in Sunset Park next year.

Courtesy of Kirk Seese. An example of his debut sculpture, “The Feather” that may be seen in Sunset Park next year.

Renton invests in art more than before

Two new art projects will bring color, local history to the city

Renton is paying into public art with two new projects, at an almost $400,000 investment— one that’s an ode to the city’s history, the other brightening up a park.

The first project is for public art to be included in Phase Two of the Sunset Community Park project. Artist Kirk Seese of Lutherville, Maryland was selected out of several national and international artists by a committee of city staff, Sunset residents and the Renton Municipal Arts Commission. The project is budgeted at $250,000, paid for with the density transfer fees the city received from the Sunset Terrace project.

The project includes creating several vertical sculptures that could create a forest of color in the park, while being spaced out as to not create sight-line issues.

Seese stated in an email he got involved in public art sculptures after doing work sculpting climbing walls for a New Zealand based company ClimbZone. Before that he was creating public murals. Now he’s been answering national requests for artists using his debut sculpture, “The Feather,” that has already exhibited in nine other states.

The plan is for a entire forest of these ‘feathers,’ with one large one in the center at 25 to 30 feet in height, possibly as one large cluster, several groups and/or lining the pathways of the park.

Seese has never been to Washington state so he responded to a small $1,000 grant proposal the city of Renton put out. Months later he learned he not only won the commission, but would be able to create a much larger display as part of the Sunset Park project.

“I am beyond excited to get started with the design process, putting down what is already a vision in my head,” Seese stated in an email.

Phase Two of the Sunset Park also includes construction of a playground area, adult fitness area, a picnic plaza, a misting water feature and more landscaping along the walkways. The artist contract needed to be approved now so it could be designed in part of the Phase Two designs.

Seese’s style will add color and interesting entryways to the park, Community Services Capital Projects Manager Alan Wyatt said. Phase Two is scheduled to be finished by late spring or early summer of 2020.

“This art will certainly enhance the visual character (of the park),” Wyatt said.

The second project titled “The Renton Loop” would sit at the corner of Main Avenue South and South Second Street. An original art project meant to go at that corner was abandoned after the city wasn’t able to meet the scope of the project. The project is budgeted at $146,261.28, with about $50,003.50 from the 1 percent for Arts fund and the rest from the city’s Arts and Culture project account. It’s set to be installed this fall.

Western Neon, the same company that created the downtown Renton dragon, is designing the 12-foot diameter circle sculpture. Creative Director Dylan Neuwirth first presented the proposed loop to council at the June 10 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Neuwirth said he looked at one of the original ideas for the previous project, that it referenced the Renton Loop, a traditional cruise done by youth in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s and reason for the annual Cruz the Loop event. He also dug deeper into the business history in Renton, and how its been evolving, after hearing stories while working on the dragon.

The project tells the story through materials: coal, Core-Ten steel, aluminum, stainless steel and futuristic lights. This covers the journey of coal and steel industries, Boeing, health care and incoming technology companies. Neuwirth explained the loop will twist together steels and raw aluminum into an illuminated arc. The sculpture then sits on a bed of metal colored to look like coal.

“I like your story that goes with it,” Council President Don Persson said at the June 10 meeting. “I drove it as a kid, I enforced it as a police officer. I’ve been through the loop.”

At the Aug. 19 council meeting, council approved the artist contracts for each project.

“These two new projects will enhance our reputation and give both residents and visitors something to admire and talk about,” Mayor Denis Law stated in a city of Renton press release.

Courtesy of city of Renton website. The “Renton Loop” uses materials representing different industries that built the city.

Courtesy of city of Renton website. The “Renton Loop” uses materials representing different industries that built the city.

Courtesy of city of Renton website. The “Renton Loop” uses materials representing different industries that built the city.

Courtesy of city of Renton website. The “Renton Loop” uses materials representing different industries that built the city.

More in News

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Opponent of the Energize Eastside project, Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sustainable Energy (CENSE) president Don Marsh presents to the Renton Hearing Examiner during a public hearing, Jan. 8, for the project.
Contention over Energize Eastside

PSE, the public and opponents discuss issues for 5 hours

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

REA board voted out

Union members use their power to remove leaders from office

Renton schools closed Tuesday for icy road conditions

Schools went from a two hour late start, to closed for Jan. 14

A 50-minute film called “Spawning Grounds,” which documents the effort to save a freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish, is finally ready for its debut in North Bend on Jan. 18. (Screenshot from film)
Spawning Grounds: Lake Sammamish kokanee documentary premieres Jan. 18

The film tracks the ‘all hands on deck’ effort to save the little red fish from extinction.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The new Bickersons Brewhouse opened on Nov. 9. Two months later, Jan. 9, business leaders and the Renton Chamber of Commerce celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting, featuring owners Frank Castro and Shaunn Siekawitch. Go bicker with the “Bickersons” at 4710 NE Fourth St., Renton.
Ribbon cut for new Renton brewhouse

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The… Continue reading

Most Read