Public mural below Murray Morgan Bridge to be dedicated Sept. 20

The City of Tacoma will unveil a public mural this month that aims to celebrate the history of Tacoma’s working waterfront.

Last month, the Tacoma Daily Index noticed progress was being made on the mural, which is entitled “The Hands That Built Tacoma,” along Dock Street on the concrete wall of the stormwater collection system below the western side of Tacoma’s Murray Morgan Bridge.

In January, the City of Tacoma invited artists from Pierce, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties to apply for the $10,000 project. The application deadline expired on March 14. Gig Harbor artist Nick Goettling was among 10 artists whose work was reviewed earlier this year by a panel that included community members affiliated with the site, as well as Tacoma Arts Commission members. In April, the Tacoma Arts Commission approved a recommendation to select Goettling for the public art project. According to City of Tacoma officials, Goettling spent late-spring and most of this summer researching the bridge and history of the area, connecting with members of the local community in developing a mural design, and painting the mural.

“The panel was impressed with Goettling’s bold graphic style of painting and his personal connection to the history of the area,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Traci Kelly. “His emphasis on colorful layers and interest in making the work approachable to all viewers fit the needs of our community.”

The mural was commissioned by the City of Tacoma as part of the Murray Morgan Bridge rehabilitation. Built in 1913, the Murray Morgan Bridge was closed in 2007 due to safety concerns, and restored and re-opened 100 years later, in 2013. This $12,000 mural commission is part of an interpretive information plan to tell the story of the bridge and celebrate its connection to the Foss Waterway.

“We are pleased to add this powerful mural that pays tribute to Tacoma’s rich history to the City’s art collection,” added City of Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride. “It’s bold and bright, tells a great story, and gives visual interest to both motorists and pedestrians.”

Goettling’s mural will be dedicated during a public Maritime Fest event on Sat., Sept. 20, between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., below the Murray Morgan Bridge near the corner of Dock Street and South 11th Street.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Nick Goettling’s “The Hands That Built Tacoma,” click on the following links: