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.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

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

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

Virtual town halls coming up for unincorporated King County

Events throughout September and October via Zoom will cater to different areas of the region.

A vacant building that went up in flames Aug. 27 at the corner of Pacific Highway S. and S. 279th St. in Federal Way. Fire investigators declared the blaze to be an arson. Photo courtesy of South King Fire Commissioner Bill Fuller
Renton man possibly connected to Federal Way arsons

Officers found several lighters and butane fuel in his possession while arresting the man on Aug. 28.

Stock photo
Renton woman pleads guilty to purchasing firearms for ‘violent street gangs’

According to case records, a 41-year-old Renton woman provided the guns to her son, who modified them and sold them to gang members

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Massive wildfires incinerate WA

All state Department of Natural Resources lands were closed to recreational activities on Sept. 8.

Screenshot of the air quality monitor at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8. Courtesy Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
King County faces unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke

Weather monitors recommend people limit time outdoors, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung disease.

I-5 closures near Federal Way this week for Sound Transit construction

Two lanes of I-5 will be closed overnight Sept. 9 and 10.

Most Read