‘FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES’ — Latest addition to Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway adds messages of action on way to June opening

After a year mostly lost to the COVID-19 crisis, Capitol Hill Station’s AIDS memorial project connecting the transit hub’s mixed-use development and plaza to Cal Anderson is taking shape and on track for a June 2021 completion. This week, an important component of the AIDS Memorial Pathway was installed, adding new messages to the area from time of the height of the AIDS crisis that the project’s organizers and contributing creators say are relevant and important for today’s Capitol Hill.

“We not only wanted to do messaging that was relevant, that was authentic,” Gabriel Stromberg of the Civilization firm tells CHS about the We’re Already Here installation added to the pathway this week. “But we also wanted to find messaging that represents different experiences in the AIDS crisis.”

Stromberg and Corey Gutch say the Civilization creation of bright signs now on display at the Broadway development and plaza is based research and community review of messages from “collective action” — protests, demonstrations, rallies, and campaigns — from the activism around the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Jason Plourde, manager of the AIDS Memorial Pathway Project, says that realness, relevancy, and diversity of experience is a key component of the pathway. Continue reading

Seattle World AIDS Day virtual event will include dedication of first AIDS Memorial Pathway artwork

In This Way We Loved One Another by artist and poet Storme Webber (Image: The AMP)

A virtual event to mark Tuesday’s World AIDS Day will include the dedication of the first artwork completed for Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway, a project planned to link the Capitol Hill Station transit facility, housing, and new grocery store and commercial projects to Cal Anderson Park.

Stories of the Past, Stories of the Present: Honoring World AIDS Day takes place starting at 5 PM Tuesday with an online program “to reflect on the impact of HIV/AIDS” that will include the dedication of the AMP photography project In This Way We Loved One Another by artist and poet Storme Webber that hangs at the Cathy Hillenbrand Community Room inside the affordable Station House Building that is part of the station’s mixed-use developments. Continue reading

Explaining the ‘X’ in Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway

The artists and community collaborators behind Capitol Hill’s forthcoming AIDS Memorial Pathway have a different approach to building a memorial. For starters, the AMP, working with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, is steering clear of a monolithic or singular representation of Seattle’s early AIDS crisis. To that end, adding more contributors to the public art installation ensures more experiences are represented. That vision was reflected last week when the AMP announced Christopher Paul Jordan, Horatio Hung-Yan Law, graphic design studio Civilization, and Storme Webber as the artists selected to contribute four permanent art installations on the plaza above Capitol Hill Station and in Cal Anderson Park.

“I think the AMP is a very unique way to remember and memorialize HIV and AIDS and its history here in Seattle,” AMP project manager Jason Plourde said. “I have been really excited by the fact that it’s not just a singular thing that’s representing a history or commemorating what happened. There are four different artists doing four unique, connected pieces. I think it makes it more interesting and will make it more impactful.”

The as-yet-unnamed centerpiece is a giant X made from speakers, a 20 foot by 20 foot structure, designed by Jordan. He points out the X is a +, or positive symbol, turned on its axis to erode the perceived binary between HIV positive and HIV negative people and symbolizing a solidarity between the two. Jordan said that “the general attitude that a lot of folks have is, ‘Well it doesn’t really affect me, I’m negative.’ There’s a respectability culture around HIV negative status that sees itself as separate from the crisis, as some people have access to healthcare and support they need.” Continue reading

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: Continue reading