Continuity, 2008

Phillip Baldwin
(American, born 1953, died 2023)

Location: West Valley High School, Spokane Valley


Master metalsmith Phillip Baldwin created five elegant wrought iron guardrails to decorate a staircase at West Valley High School. The artwork Continuity is inspired by the fact that the Spokane Valley community saved the Gothic Revival stonework from the old high school and re-used it into the new school. The wrought iron panels use imagery from the original stonework to show different aspects of human development: pine boughs represent nature; an owl represents wisdom; a peacock represents the arts; a bald eagle represents courage and action; and an oil lamp represents the spirit of humanity and the universe. Baldwin used blacksmithing techniques that have changed little since the late Middle Ages (in the 1400s). He notes that "The overall effect is that of a historic work, though not as a reproduction."

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with West Valley School District.


Phillip Baldwin (1953-2023) was a Washington-based metal artist and craftsman. Many of his sculptures were created using the Japanese "Mokume Gane" technique. He notes, “The use of decorative laminated metals is still in its infancy and I find this a heartening thought. It means that the world of mokume will always be fresh, new and fun.”

Baldwin earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in metalsmithing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1979, where he was a resident artist for two years at the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts in Portland. He had long lived and worked near Snohomish in Northwestern Washington.

Material CategorySculpture - other metals
MediumWrought and fabricated mild steel
DimensionsFive parts, dimension vary for each from 30 in high x varying widths of 17-39 in x 1 1/2 in
ID NumberWSAC2007.007.00A-J
Acquisition MethodSite responsive commission
Artist LocationWashington, United States
Location Information
AgencyWest Valley School District, Spokane
Artwork LocationWest Valley High School
Along the two staircases leading from the hallway to theatre
WA CountySpokane
Site TypePublic School
Address8301 E. Buckeye Ave
Spokane Valley, WA 99212
Geo. Coordinates47.683840, -117.291738
Before VisitingSome artworks may be located in areas not accessible to the general public (especially in K-12 public schools). Consider contacting the site prior to a visit to ensure access.