After 10 years in Pierce County storage, public art now on display

Pierce County heavy equipment operator Don Couture recently donated his time and talent to create a work of art for the county from an otherwise white elephant.

A decade ago, former Public Works and Utilities managers acquired an unpainted, 8-foot fiberglass salmon figure. The idea at the time was to provide a series of salmon “blanks” to local artists for decoration and placement in public places, to raise awareness about salmon protection.

Things fell through, and the unfinished fish languished in the Puyallup road shop attic until it was moved to the new Central Maintenance Facility in 2008. Current managers wanted to free up storage space and do something to benefit the public, so they offered the opportunity to paint the fish to Couture, an accomplished artist.

He was pleased and honored to donate his skills, and using cans of spray paint, he created a giant, lifelike Chinook salmon. It is now on display in the lobby of the Central Maintenance Facility.

Couture’s artistic talent comes to him naturally and he usually works with sketch pads and oil paints. “I’ve used spray paint as a medium before, but not quite like this,” he said. “This was definitely a unique project.”

The finished salmon sculpture can be seen at the Public Works and Utilities Central Maintenance Facility, located at 4812 196th St. E. in Spanaway.