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Garfield Super Block design taking shape for 2025 construction with Pillars of Promise artists selection, community open house

Artists have been selected for some key elements of the project as the neighborhood will gather for a community open house Thursday to see the latest updates to the $8.4 million plan to complete the Garfield Super Block and add new public art, renovate the park, add new play areas, and create a new promenade for this core of the Central District.

“During this meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to meet with the project team to ask questions and learn more about future site plans for the project,” Seattle Parks says about Thursday’s 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM gathering at the Garfield Community Center that will eventually be in the center of the project.

Seattle Parks says the Garfield Super Block has reached a “60%” design milestone. Construction had been hoped to begin by summer but is now listed as a 2025 by the city.

CHS reported here on the Garfield Super Block Coalition effort to lead the project hoped to reflect the history and cultures of the Central District including eight public art pieces with seven pieces being from different ethnic groups including the Duwamish, Jewish, African-American, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Italian communities that have helped shape the neighborhood. The final piece will be a collaborative piece from all seven ethnic groups.

The art will join the Legacy and Promise Promenade, a pathway fulfilling a long-envisioned goal of connecting Horace Mann School, now home to Nova High School, just on the other side of Cherry, with the Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center in the center of the Garfield High School campus.

The coalition has announced the artists selected to contribute to some of the key elements of the Super Block with additional artists to be announced later this year.

Reforesting the Central Area will feature the work of Gabrielle Abbott:

The present reality of the Central Area is a rapidly gentrifying urban village. At this moment in time, it is hard to imagine a pre-settlement, pre-industry, and pre-peopled reality. The Garfield Super Block Art Team put out a call for an artist to join the design team, in collaboration with the landscape architects, to envision a “reforested” space that honors the history of the land and the root systems that connect us to the past and future. This project represents trees, stumps, roots, and other biome that would have occurred naturally in the area. They will be utilized as sculptural seating elements in the park and should also remind us of the true scale of nature in relation to the human body.

Meanwhile, the team that will collaborate to create the core work Pillars of Promise has also been selected. The Pillars are described a “the heart of the Garfield Super Block Art Plan” and will feature seven artworks “to commemorate the seven cultures that established roots in the Historic Central District prior to its official redlining.”

“This will contribute to the creation of a unique identity for the park as a welcoming and educational place for those who live, play, and work in the area,” the coalition said in its announcement.

The artworks will be created by an artist from each cultural group; Duwamish, Black/African American, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Jewish, and Italian. Seven additional artists from these communities will collaborate on a single, seven-sided pillar, “offering their voices and their stories.”

“These works of art will serve as a lasting legacy for our children,” the organizers write.

The coalition has also been busy raising funding. While the park itself is being funded through public dollars, the coalition is hoping to use private dollars for the artwork so they have fewer restrictions.

The majority of funds raised for the park came through amendments in the city’s budget with the help of Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda. The coalition has also received federal and county funding.

Other planned new additions include adding parkour to the park, which would be the first parkour park in the city, a new comfort station which will have a concessions area, a new playground with new equipment including a big slide and a new water play area, and new bathrooms. They also plan to create a walkway around the entire park and add a ramp to be ADA accessible.

The changes, the city says, “will improve access for multi-generational recreation, with new play areas for different age groups and abilities, a nature play area, an all-ages parkour facility and an accessible .34-mile loop path around the park connecting all the amenities in the block.”

This vision has been taking shape since 2005 when Robert Stephens, Jr. first started working on this project. CHS previously reported that as part of the public process to approve building a new Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center, Seattle Public Schools had to be approved to get a variance in order to build fewer than the required number of off-street parking stalls. As part of that process, the district was required to provide a public benefit as a mitigation.

That project was the Super Block improvement project. “The community was just forgotten about,” Stephens previously told CHS.

Now the city is helping make the plan real guided by the Garfield Super Block coalition.

You can learn more about the project at garfieldsuperblock.org.

 

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Other J
Other J
5 months ago

The ethnic teams thing is bizarre

Cdresident
Cdresident
5 months ago
Reply to  Other J

Lol yeah it is. Also the Jewish one is gonna get defaced constantly with Free Palestine.

J Tolle
J Tolle
5 months ago
Reply to  Cdresident

Well the Jewish one has nothing to do with israel. Since we keep being told that anti-Semitism is not the same thing as criticizing Israel clearly people will not take their hostility out on Jewish Americans for our projects that have nothing to do with israel. If this happens it just shows that the same people who keep telling us that anti-zionism isn’t anti-semitism, that criticizing Israel isn’t anti-semitic, clearly practice anti-semitism. And they should be dealt with.

J Tolle
J Tolle
5 months ago
Reply to  Other J

Maybe, but it’s refreshing to see other ethnic groups who played a huge part in the CD being given a platform and a voice for a change. The erasure of them has really made my blood boil in recent years when there has been so much attention given to only one ethnic groups contributions in that neighborhood to the exclusion of everybody else.

Book lover
Book lover
5 months ago

What is the deal with all the ripped up book pages on the streets of the central district?