Followup: Delridge Way’s signal-box artists – and Youngstown’s future mural plans

August 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm | In Delridge, West Seattle news, WS culture/arts | 23 Comments

Meet the young artists whose mini-murals now adorn a dozen traffic-signal boxes/cabinets along Delridge Way SW, from SW Andover to SW Henderson (map). We mentioned the project Thursday night; on Friday afternoon, their three weeks of work concluded with a wrap party. While the celebration was inside Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, where the project was based, everyone took a field trip outside to the site where we photographed them – a painted box across from the south side of Youngstown. Also on hand (at left in the top photo, as well as seen below), artist Andrew Morrison and teacher Tess Gamez, who worked with the youth:

Morrison talked about how the work – for which the young artists were paid, as part of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Work Readiness Art Program and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative – taught life skills, such as showing up on time and taking responsibility to get a job done. Tess talked about how the kids got to be known in the neighborhood while working along the three-mile stretch, and how near the end someone even stopped by with snacks for the kids. Half the mini-murals follow progression of the salmon life cycle, while the rest feature other sea-life themes. Meantime, more mural work is ahead for next year:

Youngstown director David Bestock says larger murals will be painted next summer along that wall facing Delridge, as well as retaining walls in the center’s parking lot, and he’ll be pursuing funding for that work in the meantime. Since Youngstown – the historic Cooper School – is a city landmark, he had to go to the Landmarks Board this month to get approval for those future murals, and he says it was a unanimous “yes” vote. Along with the programs noted above, he points out that this all began in partnership with Southwest Youth and Family Services, Seattle Police, and Seattle Public Utilities.

P.S. Youngstown’s planning a big public open house three weeks from today, Saturday, September 21st, 1-9 pm (including performances during those final three hours) – and would love to show you what’s happening inside the historic school’s walls at 4408 Delridge Way SW.

23 Comments

  1. Everyone involved in this project should be very proud of their hard work. The art is fantastic! It’s really made a difference in the Delridge neighborhood. It’s so great to see the community come together on projects like this. Good job!

    Comment by Diana O. McLeod — 7:09 pm August 31, 2013 #

  2. The Open House is actually, Saturday Sept 21st! Spread the word!!

    Comment by En — 7:18 pm August 31, 2013 #

  3. What a great idea- art on those metal traffic signal boxes- I love it! Just think how proud those kids will be every time they walk or drive by the box they worked on. Genius way to make young people feel invested in their community and how it looks.

    Comment by Diane V — 7:38 pm August 31, 2013 #

  4. Is the date for the open house correct?

    Comment by Pete — 7:54 pm August 31, 2013 #

  5. The date is Sept 21 for the open house.

    Comment by coffee — 8:00 pm August 31, 2013 #

  6. Yes, sorry, I wrote today and added August 31st as in TODAY, preceded by three weeks from, which technically was correct because today IS Aug. 31st but … anyway. Fixed, thanks.

    Comment by WSB — 8:20 pm August 31, 2013 #

  7. Well stated Diane V. Self esteem in young folks is crucial to a positive life.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 8:33 pm August 31, 2013 #

  8. Bravo to all the artists! The paintings are beautiful! They add so much to the community. Thank you, thank you!

    Comment by sarah — 8:39 pm August 31, 2013 #

  9. The boxes look incredible! I still remember winning a barrel painting contest in Alaska in 1976. The barrel had a patriotic theme and was to be used as a garbage can.

    Comment by mehud — 9:31 pm August 31, 2013 #

  10. Awesome work, thanks to all involved. Keep doing great things.

    Comment by Mark — 10:01 pm August 31, 2013 #

  11. The art is fantastic and lifts my spirits as I drive through my neighborhood. I drove by when this group was working on the box beside the Delridge Skate Park, and was surprised when I saw the completed boxes from one end of Delridge to another. Thank you!

    Comment by Tasha — 11:03 pm August 31, 2013 #

  12. Great job!

    Comment by kayo — 6:20 am September 1, 2013 #

  13. LOVE the paintings! Such a pleasant, unexpected surprise to spot them as I was driving through Delridge the last couple of days. And, of course, we can always count on WSB to clear up any mystery around anything that pops up such as this. Thank you so much to the artists involved – the paintings are a great asset to our community!

    Comment by m — 8:45 am September 1, 2013 #

  14. These boxes not only add color and beauty to the corridor but add flavor in art! Super excited to see this project continue and looking forward to the Open House…according to their website there will be open studios, community orgs tabling, food trucks and performances. This is great and I’m bringing my out of town guests for this!

    Comment by Elinor — 9:30 am September 1, 2013 #

  15. So cool! It truly is the little things, done by small groups at small cost that make a big difference.

    Comment by Del Martini — 11:28 am September 1, 2013 #

  16. A big thank you. As a pigeon point neighbor, really want to thank you for painting the boxes on Delridge and all of the effort. They bring a smile to my face as I drive down the road. Great job.

    Comment by Diane Fields — 12:13 pm September 1, 2013 #

  17. Youngstown director David Bestock also has a wonderful slide show of the art and the kids, set to music, that he “threw together night before”; would be great if you could post here for all to see

    Comment by Diane — 2:22 pm September 1, 2013 #

  18. Definitely enjoy this sort of community improvement.

    I hope the boxes’ artwork survives the inevitable vandalism and graffiti that will be overlaid.

    Have they been overlaid with a protective coating of any sort? Otherwise they are going to be heck to restore once the inevitable happens.

    I love this sort of thing, it brightens up utilitarian objects without interfering with their operation or use and certainly ads a nice splash of color to drab areas.

    Comment by Jim P. — 2:25 pm September 1, 2013 #

  19. So cool!

    .

    Great job by these artists!

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 4:14 pm September 1, 2013 #

  20. is the cable company ok with this

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 9:54 am September 2, 2013 #

  21. Cable company has nothing to do with it. The boxes are city-owned SDOT equipment and not only are they OK with it, they encourage it:
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/stuse_signalboxart.htm

    Comment by WSB — 10:10 am September 2, 2013 #

  22. These artists have given me little reasons to smile everyday. Thank you! A little goes a long way.

    Comment by lox — 5:23 pm September 2, 2013 #

  23. Thanks for all the great feedback folks! For those that couldn’t make it to our final event last Friday, here is a short video showing the artists at work (and on a couple field trips to SAM, the Ballard Locks, and to a set of murals in N. Seattle painted by the lead teaching artist from our program, Andrew Morrison):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8idPrtO_BU

    Thanks again for all the support, and we do hope to see you here at Youngstown on Saturday September 21st, 1-9pm, for what should be a very fun Open House!

    Comment by David Bestock — 2:39 pm September 3, 2013 #

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