… a hatchet:
While we were checking this out at Alki about 45 minutes ago, we spoke with a Parks Department crew member who was working nearby. He didn’t know about it until he saw it; he tried calling the local maintenance office but hadn’t reached anyone by the time he had to move on. So we’re checking on their plans, and also the larger question: Is it illegal to place something in a park?
11:16 AM UPDATE: Sandra DeMeritt from Parks tells WSB, “We posted a sign on the object a little while ago stating we will remove the item tomorrow. We like to give the public some notice. We also will have to bring the truck and front loader in to remove it. We won’t save it at the Parks Headquarters this time as it is so big. We will break it up and take it to the Transfer Station. We will also make sure the paint is cleaned up as well. I assume it is acrylic paint and not enamel (hopefully). One of our crew members is supposed to put some spill pads down to keep any paint from running down to the beach.”
12:42 PM UPDATE: And to the big-picture question, Parks spokesperson Joelle Hammerstad replies:
It is not actually illegal to place guerrilla art in a park, unless you consider it litter…in which case it is illegal. We don’t really consider it litter. We consider it guerrilla art, which is sometimes fun, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes beautiful, sometimes not. What we generally do with guerrilla art is post it to let the artist know they have a certain amount of time to remove it. When that time is up, and if the art is still there, we take it away. Guerrilla art is ephemeral, and the artists know that. They don’t have an expectation that the art will stay for the long term.
In this particular case, the guerrilla art is leaning against legitimate and permanent art. The Alki Community Council and the individual donors who raised money for the Alki Statue of Liberty worked closely with Seattle Parks and Recreation to develop the proposal for the redevelopment of the plaza. They also raised funds ($47,000) for its long-term maintenance. It would be unfair to them to allow the art to remain.