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Council committee OKs ordinance for AIDS Memorial Pathway art that will rise at center of Capitol Hill Station plaza

A Seattle City Council committee Thursday approved a key ordinance and got a look at the artwork being planned for the AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway project destined to be the centerpiece of the Capitol Hill Station plaza and connect the development to nearby Cal Anderson Park.

During the session, the council approved the use of “non city funds” and the donation of three major art components of the project funded by the AMP foundation set up to support the project. A requirement that the council and the Office of Arts and Culture work out a specific plan to pay for maintenance of the Memorial Pathway art once it comes under city control was also added to Thursday’s approval. The ordinance will now move on to the full council for a final vote in March.

The donations from AMP approved Thursday cover some $750,000 in art:

The Office of Arts and Culture estimates it will require about $400,000 to maintain the art over the next 30 years. The AMP foundation that has raised funding for the artists in a giving campaign to create the pathway is also working to raise money to cover the maintenance costs. You can learn more and support the effort at theamp.org.

CHS wrote about the selection of artist Chris Jordan and the work to create the pathway here last spring.

Thursday, the council committee got a look at the plans for the pathway including Jordan’s “centerpiece,” a large X shaped from black, silent speakers that will stand in the north end of the Capitol Hill Station plaza and cover an existing vent tower from the light rail facility below:

The piece is a portal into the spaces of radical gathering, hospitality, celebration, and care that Black, brown, poor, trans, queer, and otherwise excluded communities have forged to take care of our own. The speakers form an X, or a positive-sign on its side, engaging our connections to the ongoing AIDS crisis, our connections to those no longer with us, and our connections to our communities of resilience. X is a symbol for love and a symbol for banishment and exclusion, a symbol for unknown, for explicit things we are not “supposed” to speak about in public. This sculpture exists both to celebrate the lives of those no longer with us, and to galvanize ongoing action. These silent speakers come from spaces which have witnessed our gathering and connections across time.
Today, in a country where 50% of Black gay men are projected to become HIV+ in their lifetime, the speakers call us into connection, hospitality, care,
celebration, remembrance, activism, and support.

The AMP’s Jason Plourde said Thursday that the project is also being planned to mesh with an augmented reality program that will allow visitors with smartphones to experience added elements like video interviews with survivors and activists.

The development and its new market rate and affordable housing, a grocery, small retails, and a child care center, along with the plaza and the pathway are expected to begin opening starting in March with buildings and components of the project debuting into fall.


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12 Comments
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Sao
Sao
1 year ago

A giant X? The new Seattle building style and art has so little charm.

Taylor
Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Sao

Yeah. I’m underwhelmed and a little disappointed, but not surprised.

John Whittier Treat
John Whittier Treat
1 year ago

Gimmicky where quiet dignity is called for.

So bad...
So bad...
1 year ago

Couldn’t agree more…(apologies to the artists behind this idea).

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

Yes. Having lived through all of it this just seems like generic, cold corporate art rather than a fitting memorial to all the heroes who worked and fought so hard and the many who died. Feels more like a promotion for the CHPB. It’s neither a call to action nor up-lifting. Another missed opportunity.

PD
PD
1 year ago

Continuing the tradition of awful public art in Seattle.

We need a walking tour of the garbage public art in this city, with special emphasis on all the ugly fake-Chihuly glass art like that piece of s$%t in front of the new-but-soon-to-fold Bauhaus.

Bad public art
Bad public art
1 year ago

What on earth do a bunch of woofers and tweeters have to do with the fight against AIDS? Awful. Jerry Saltz says it best: 98% of public art is terrible.

Anthony G Radovich
Anthony G Radovich
1 year ago

says a bunch of white people

ACT/UP
ACT/UP
1 year ago

Well you are in Seattle, Anthony, so the odds for this are good. You may need to allow for its occurrence from time to time, even though it feels great to be woke on a comment thread. As someone who very much supports the intent of the memorial – to call attention to the POC and other marginalized people who died of AIDS – I think it’s banal, ugly and without a doubt a big missed opportunity.

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

This thing is effing horrific.

Richard
Richard
1 year ago

Don’t worry about it. If it’s built out of audio speakers and aimed south towards the summer sun and winter storms, weather exposure will probably completely deteriorate it in a couple of years.

Allan Chinn
Allan Chinn
1 year ago

Will the names of those no longer with us be a part of the memorial. Those if us who lived through that sad and frightening time be able to see, touch and remember those lost. That ability to see the scope of the loss, the Lost generation of men and women and remind those who did not live in that time, the pain of losing on a weekly base friends, lovers and family. The hurt and the sadness that the youth of today could not experience.