Sidewalk sculptures planned for revamped Pacific Avenue

As the City of Tacoma puts its finishing touches on the $11.9 million Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, downtown Tacoma visitors may soon notice a half-dozen new public sculptures.

According to a report prepared by Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride, six spherical sidewalk sculptures will be placed along an eight-block stretch of Pacific Avenue: one near South 7th Street; two in front of Park Plaza North near South 9th Street; one in front of Chase Bank near South 11th Street; and two in front of a parking lot between South 14th Street and South 15th Street.

The sidewalk sculptures are created by local artist Elizabeth Conner, whose work appears in many of the 14 rain gardens that were part of the larger streetscape project. They measure between three-and-a-half feet and nearly four-and-a-half feet in diameter, weigh between 1,700 and 3,200 pounds, are cast in concrete with a color treatment, and will be secured to the sidewalk by a stainless rod.

The sculptures were approved by the Tacoma Arts Commission in October.

On Wednesday, Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to discuss one of the sculptures because its proposed installation near South Seventh Street is located within the Old City Hall Historic District.

“This area has been completely re-done,” notes McBride in a report to the landmarks commission. “No historic features will be altered to install the artwork at the proposed location.” McBride also notes the sculptures “will be elegantly decorated with an ‘Egg and Dart’ pattern reflective of the ornamental architecture in some historic buildings along Pacific Avenue.”

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.