In-Person Public Art Dedications Return

Throughout the pandemic, the Arts in Public Places team worked with local groups to acquire new artworks for K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies across Washington. The steps to acquire a new artwork include many planning meetings. We held these meetings online to protect the health of everyone involved. The benefits of online meetings are safety and convenience, but these have a cost. On the web, it is hard for local communities to build a personal connection with the artist. It is also often hard for the community to experience the final artwork for the same reasons.

The situation is starting to change for the better. As vaccinations go up, COVID-19 rates drop, and students return to school, we are starting to celebrate new additions to the State Art Collection in person. Dedications are a chance to share the story of how the artwork came to be, what it means, and the value of good stewardship. It’s also a chance to acknowledge the role played by ArtsWA and the public dollars that funded the artwork. Perhaps most important, it is a chance to introduce the artist who created it.

Schools in Tukwila, Richland, and Lacey (North Thurston) had recent dedications. More are on the horizon. We look forward to more safe gatherings, more public artworks, and more chances to celebrate creativity across the state.

Students exploring “Solar Portals” (2021) at Orchard Elementary, in Richland, a new sculpture by David Cole and Michael Brown, during the school-wide dedication.

To see more photos of this piece, please visit the ‘Solar Portals’ profile on My Public Art Portal.

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