Tacoma panel selects artist for Lincoln District public art project

The City of Tacoma is poised to move forward on a plan to create public art in the Lincoln International Business District.

In August, the City issued a call for artists to submit qualifications for the Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Public Art Project, a $210,000 commission to create permanent artwork that will serve as gateways to the district, according to City staff (see “Tacoma seeks artists for Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 3, 2015).

The deadline to submit qualifications expired in September, and 24 artists responded to the call.

A City staff report shows a 10-member, community-based selection committee reviewed the submissions and interviewed four finalists last month. The committee selected Portland, Ore.-based artist Horatio Hung-Yan Law to complete the project. Law is a faculty member at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. He recently completed public art commissions for TRI-MET, Housing Authority of Portland, Oregon State Hospital, Seattle Public Utilities, and the City of Seattle.

“Horatio Hung-Yan Law’s work is a confluence of public art, installations, and socially engaged practice that is place-based and communication-centered,” noted City staff. “In recent works, [Law] has worked collaboratively with communities to explore issues of identity and the meaning of community in evolving global culture, and much of his work stems from his identity as a U.S. citizen of Asian heritage and experience as an immigrant.”

The project is part of the larger Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project, which aims to strengthen and improve the area by investing in public safety; economic development, urban design, and community vitality; housing and property conditions; and code compliance and neighborhood beautification, according to City staff. The City has set aside approximately $4 million for improvements to the district, which is centered at South 38th Street and South Yakima Avenue.

In March, the City spent approximately $125,000 to replace 31 ornamental street lights (as well as 20 standard street lights) with similar-looking, eco-friendly light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs (see “LED street lights coming to Tacoma’s Lincoln International Business District,”Tacoma Daily Index, March 2, 2015).

The City hosted a series of open houses to discuss the project (see “Open house offers early peek at Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 26, 2015; and “Lincoln District Streetscape Project open house June 25,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 19, 2015).

The City plans to open the Lincoln District Revitalization Project Office, located at 750 S. 38th St. (Suite C), to share information with the public. The office will be open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. beginning on Mon., Nov. 16. A public open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Thurs., Dec. 3, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. (ribbon-cutting at 3 p.m.). More information about the Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project is available online here.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution to award the $210,000 contract to Law during a public meeting at 5 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 17, at Tacoma City Hall. A copy of the resolution is available online here. A copy of the staff memo is available online here. A copy of the agreement is available online here. Copies of area maps are available online here.

UPDATE | WEDS., NOV. 18 @ 11:08 A.M. – Tacoma City Council approved a resolution Tuesday to award a $210,000 contract to Portland, Ore.-based artist Horatio Law to create new public art as part of Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project.

City of Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride provided the following comments to councilmembers:

“The funding is part of the overall construction budget and is really the first piece of the art program that we are going to be developing in the Lincoln District. We are going to be committing the rest of public art funds to the selection of local artists to create temporary and site specific projects throughout the course of the project.”

“Horatio was one of four finalists who came to visit the Lincoln District and we traipsed around and visited the district. He was selected by a community stakeholder panel that consisted of business owners, neighbors, artists and arts commissioners. We had the selection panel in Lincoln High School, and even a student participated in that panel. So it was really community engaged from the beginning.”

“That’s really Horatio’s specialty — being able to work with the community and then manifest the work as public art. The selection panel really responded well to his ability to pull together the many voices of community in a really cohesive and aesthetically strong way.”

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Tacoma’s Lincoln International Business District, click on the following links: