Check out five proposals for painting the I-5 columns between First Hill and downtown

The First Hill Improvement Association has its work cut out for it. Some 4,000 new units of housing are scheduled to be built in the neighborhood over the next few years. In January, we told you about one project to help add some color to the neighborhood with a call for artists to create designs for the forest of columns supporting I-5 between First Hill and downtown. Now you can vote on which design the FHIA should bring to life under I-5:

The First Hill Improvement Association is excited to be able to make changes to the columns underneath Interstate 5 between Cherry and James Streets. We’re grateful to have the help from Urban Artworks to install and paint the selected art design. Before our partners at Urban Artworks are able to paint the selected art design, we need your input! Please review each proposal from 5 local artists and vote on the design you’d like to see underneath the Interstate. The proposals are provided below, as well as a link to vote. Remember, you can only vote once! Get to it!

Check out the designs and vote here by March 8th!

Participating artists are Angelina Villalobos, Baso Fibonacci, Forrest Perrine, Nathan Watkins, and the team of Rose Alyea and Gabriel Stromberg.


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19 thoughts on “Check out five proposals for painting the I-5 columns between First Hill and downtown

  1. Having spent Saturday painting a classroom at a local school (no budget, parents have to do it, hadn’t been painted in 20yrs) – perhaps someone can explain how we have budget to paint and design under a freeway but not where we teach our kids ? Anyone ?

    • I thought the same, except about money for the homeless not schools. Clearly there is some room in the budget.

    • The First Hill Improvement Association and SPSD each has their own budget and their own mission. If you don’t think enough is being spent on upkeep in the schools, you’ll have to take this to the school board.

    • I live near the overpass, and I can tell you this is needed. The noise and the dirt and the concrete landscape make it a very depressing place to walk or bike.

    • Actually, the Seattle School District does have a budget for where we teach our kids. It is called the Capital Projects Fund, and for 2016-2017 year alone, it is approximately $275 million dollars. That’s $275,000,000, which is 27,500 times the $10,000 budget for the column painting project, which presumably will last for many years.;

      Maybe the problem is not this project, which would add a little brightness to a dreary part of our neighborhood. Maybe the problem is how the school district is managing the massive amount of money it already receives?

    • It’s all part of the public art slush fund, which (in my opinion) should be directed to teaching art in the schools.

      As far as Seattle Public Schools go, they’ve got millions in capital dollars (thanks to the many levies we have passed) but are short when it comes to money for teachers, supplies, etc. So we have lavish schools, but not enough budget to support them. Very much like the situation the library was in after they built all their “world class” structures but had to close two weeks out of every year.

      What they need to do with those underpasses is build huge public restrooms that are staffed 24/7 by attendants who don’t allow any funny business and keep the place clean and functional. But that would involve actually investing in something, and the city is not good when it comes to that, so we’ll just paint the columns.

    • “It’s all part of the public art slush fund, which (in my opinion) should be directed to teaching art in the schools.”

      That’s exactly what Urban Artworks does. It’s main purpose is to provide opportunities for contemporary artists and local youth to work together to create public works of art.

    • That’s well and good, but I’m talking about real arts education, with art teachers and adequate supplies, and art history for older kids. Music and theatre classes also.

    • I guess we have different ideas ass to what “real” arts education is. I can’t think of anything better than hands-on experience with professional artists, and the reward of seeing your work in public.

    • I think we do. I’d prefer a trained teacher who works with children and presents the opportunities and challenges of a variety of mediums, and teaches things like perspective and the value of mistakes, not just the flash of “seeing your work in public” from working with a “professional artist”. That’s just setting a child up for limited training and disappointment. Many people with artistic talent never see their work in public, and that’s OK – as long as they are encourage to pursue their passion.

  2. These should really brighten the day of the homeless population who anchor up next to these columns.

    But seriously, I’d be happier if energy were spent to clean up the trash and remove graffiti.

    • My thoughts exactly, Timmy! The column art is a nice idea, but the area is infested with homeless tents and the accompanying trash, so as to negate the positive effect of the art.

    • Its more difficult to complete annual structural inspections on pillars when there’s vegetation growing up them.

  3. It’ll look nice… For a little while. Will there be more money available to paint them all again every couple of weeks, for when they get immediately defaced and covered with graffiti?

    • You may be right, Jim, but there seems to be a certain “ethic” among taggers that they leave alone actual works of art. One example are the art-covered electrical boxes along Broadway, which for the most part have been graffiti-free.