Walking celebration and artists forum for Prairie Line Trail, Oct. 19

The City of Tacoma is hosting a walking celebration of five public art pieces along the Prairie Line Trail corridor, located on Hood Street between South 25th and South 15th streets, on Thursday, October 19, at 4:30 PM. Each of these pieces tells a portion of the history of this unique public space, a new linear park and multi-use path that follows the tracks of the terminus of the transcontinental railroad. Following the walk, a panel discussion will be hosted at the Tacoma Art Museum’s Murray Family Event Space (1701 Pacific Ave.), beginning at 6 p.m.

Two of the art pieces have been recently installed, including the mural Working Forward, Weaving Anew by artist team Jessilyn Brinkerhoff and Esteban Camacho Steffensen, and the sculpture and accompanying mural Where the Rails Meet the Sails by Rotator Creative. Two additional art pieces – Nexus by Ryan Feddersen, and Pressure/Flow by Matthew Dockrey – are being installed in early 2018, and will be honored during this celebration. Shipment to China, a sculpture by Haiying Wu that honors the contributions and sacrifices of Chinese railroad workers, has been restored and reinstalled in this new public setting. Together, the installations address several themes from Tacoma’s history, including the era of Rails to Sails, industrialization, changes in transportation technology, immigration and Puyallup tribal history.

“The thoughtful work by artists and historians on this project has resulted in exciting new public art for Tacoma’s downtown,” said Samantha Kelly, director of education and community engagement at Tacoma Art Museum. “This panel discussion will offer an opportunity for the public to learn more about these artworks – and the history of our city.”

Following the walking celebration, the panel discussion will feature several of the Prairie Line Trail artists, and will be moderated by Arts Administrator Amy McBride. The event will engage the artists in a dialogue about their process of developing these artworks, including their approach to working with the rich history of the Prairie Line Trail corridor. One of the project’s historians will also provide background on the corridor’s historic significance.

The new art pieces are accompanied by a new interpretive website, PrairieLineTrail.org, which allows readers to experience the trail from a desktop or mobile device. The site provides detailed background information about these new artworks, as well as additional information and photos about historic buildings, local art, and cultural institutions.

“These public artworks offer an opportunity for the public to engage with Tacoma’s past in a new way,” said Lauren Hoogkamer, assistant historic preservation officer for the City. “For those who want to learn more about the city’s history, the interactive website offers even more information, including photo, video, and historic documents.”

This project is part of Tacoma Arts Month, a city-wide celebration of local art and culture.

– City of Tacoma