Public art unveiled in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood

Two new public art installations were recently unveiled in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood.

The art—TransFORM by Yuki Nakamura, and Sea Branches & Pearls by Diane Hansen and Jennifer Weddermann—is part of Tacoma Housing Authority’s Bay Terrace affordable housing community, located at 2550 S. G St., in Tacoma. In August, Tacoma Housing Authority hosted a grand-opening celebration to mark the completion of the project’s first phase (see “Tacoma Housing Authority: Bay Terrace grand opening Aug. 25,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 8, 2014). Bay Terrace is a collaboration between the Tacoma Housing Authority, GGLO Architecture, and Absher Construction. In October, GGLO Architecture received an Excellence in Affordable Housing Award from the Tacoma Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium for its work on the project (see “GGLO Architecture, MDC earn affordable housing awards,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 28, 2014).

The art installations were commissioned by the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Housing Authority in partnership with the Tacoma Arts Commission’s Public Art: In Depth program, which trains established local artists to create public art.

TransFORM and Sea Branches & Pearls were unveiled during a public dedication ceremony last month (see “Public art dedication May 28 at Bay Terrace Hilltop housing community,” Tacoma Daily Index, May 18, 2015). “Together, these two artworks create a special, art-filled corner for the Bay Terrace community,” said City of Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride in a press release. “We are proud to partner with Tacoma Housing Authority to create beautiful places for people to live and thrive.”

According to the artist’s statement, “TransFORM is a series of three sculptural benches that reflect comfort and a sense of security. The work is a metaphor and an anchor for people having a transforming experience in their lives. TransFORM is designed to be welcoming like a gateway, comfortable like furniture, as dreamlike as a pillow, and solid like a tanker ship. The work creates a sense of community, inspires imagination, and enhances a safe area.” The artwork was funded through the City of Tacoma’s Municipal Art Program, which commits one percent of public construction dollars to the creation of public art.

According to the artists’ statement, “Seabranches & Pearls was inspired by the concept of caring for family and community. The organic form references a Leafy Seadragon, one of the only creatures in which the male carries its young. The sculpture, embedded with pearls of cast glass, undulates organically around the wall.” The artwork was funded by Tacoma Housing Authority.