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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