WEST SEATTLE ART: New installation planned as part of Alki Pump Station 38 project

(SPU-provided images)

The photo above shows the site of Seattle Public Utilities Pump Station 38 in the 1400 block of Alki SW [map]. An overhaul is in the works next year, with an art installation as part of it:

That’s the initial concept by artist Sarah Thompson Moore, who’s been commissioned for the work. This flyer has details, explaining that the inspiration is an old topographic map of Alki.

Right now, SPU is looking for feedback on both the art concept and the project itself, which is currently being designed. The project website explains, “SPU will convert the current pump station from an airlift type station to a more standard pump station. This conversion will improve service reliability, improve system performance, and reduce maintenance requirements and costs.” According to this overview, construction is expected to start early next year and could last up to a year; SPU tells us the project is estimated at $1.2 million, with the art project coming in around $50,000. You can answer the feedback survey by going here, by next Friday (August 14).

21 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE ART: New installation planned as part of Alki Pump Station 38 project"

  • John W August 7, 2020 (12:04 pm)

    I understand that the arts budget is built-in to projects like this, but is this a well spent $50,000  during a health crisis with a city government set on ‘re-imagining’  budget priorities due to BLM, along with housing crisis,  the mental health crisis, homelessness and addiction epidemic?

    • Lillet August 7, 2020 (1:04 pm)

      I totally agree with you! In the survey linked, I suggested students from nearby Alki Elementary should design and complete the artwork, under the guidance of the art teacher.

    • KBear August 7, 2020 (1:08 pm)

      Yes. If they followed your reasoning, there would be no public art. 

    • Pigeon Point RN August 7, 2020 (1:41 pm)

      Also…….50K for what is basically a large drawing on concrete?  I mean, it could be done for a few hundred dollars in materials.  Add in some $$ for the artist’s time and creativity and I could maybe see $5k……. but $50k??? 

  • Chuck Jacobs August 7, 2020 (12:40 pm)

    I think this is Seattle’s “4.17% for Art” program.

    • Onion August 7, 2020 (4:03 pm)

      Chintzier. The project details put the amount at a mere 1%. That’s hardly squandering city dollars.

      • Chuck Jacobs August 7, 2020 (5:04 pm)

        $50,000 is 4.17% of the $1.2 million project budget.

  • wetone August 7, 2020 (3:03 pm)

      1. Interesting city can’t find a local artist instead of hiring/paying one from out of state.  2. How long will this art work last in a harsh salt water environment as this ?  Maybe a couple years or a little longer if city is paying for a maintenance fee. 3. I bet majority of those that see it won’t even realize what it is.    And they say SPD people are getting paid to much…….. 

  • Meeeee August 7, 2020 (4:36 pm)

    Artists of all types have been hard hit in the pandemic losing most of the access they normally have to sell their work.  Art makes me happy when I see it.I may not always understand a particular artists vision, but it gives me pause and I’m happy to see a small portion of my money to go to the arts.Can we all just lay down our knives for a moment and be happy for someone that has a job in life that gives them satisfaction and provides joy to at least some portion of the populace?

  • Sweetiebee August 7, 2020 (5:17 pm)

    I love art too, and am happy to hear an artist is employed, but i would expect a lot more for that price tag

    • Runner August 7, 2020 (7:59 pm)

      How about putting the money into maintaining the grass area’s along Alki Avenue!  The current state of maintenance of the grass and planter area’s is terrible and unfortunately is every year. 

  • Craig August 7, 2020 (6:12 pm)

    Great to see beautification there. Agree that it feels overpriced, but gov anything usually is. While they’re out there with all that paint, I’d love to get the bike lane arrows and ‘bike lane only’ images painted back on Alki. It helps reduce the wandering wide width walkers I/we have to swerve around. 

    • WSB August 7, 2020 (11:54 pm)

      Those will not be replaced. We asked about it a long time ago. Both paths in that area are open to multiple modes.

  • KBear August 7, 2020 (8:30 pm)

    So glad art is required by law and not left up to WSB commenters. 

  • Seabruce August 7, 2020 (11:10 pm)

    I hope they put up a statue of Marilyn Monroe above the air exhaust grate from “Some Like it Hot.” I do it everytime I go by there

  • Joan August 8, 2020 (7:55 am)

    I love public art, but agree that local artists should do it! We have plenty of talent here.

  • WTF August 8, 2020 (8:27 am)

    Queue the money complainers in 5…4…3…2…Stop. Just stop. For the past 49 years Seattle has supported public art. They get “the money can be spent somewhere else” but let this reality set in. A majority of Seattle want nice things! We want a beautiful city that isn’t thwart with ugly. Go worry about how the hundreds of millions that have been wasted with no results, in the name of homelessness. Now THAT should piss you off.

    • John W August 8, 2020 (1:47 pm)

      WTF, We can all support and enjoy public art without the waste involved in such processes.  If we actually got a breakdown of the full costs to administer such a small art  project, we would be shocked.  The artist’s fee is likely small and defensible while the other costs astronomical. This project would provide a wonderful ‘canvas’ for local volunteer artists and parks supporters.

  • KBear August 8, 2020 (7:27 pm)

    John, making art is a real job, and money spent on art is not “waste”. 

  • SF August 8, 2020 (9:05 pm)

    I don’t suppose this pump station somehow connects up with the grate at the north end of the beach (around 53rd)?  That thing smells like something crawled in there and died.  I don’t remember it smelling that bad in previous years.  Would be grate* if that got cleaned up.

  • ws@ws.com August 8, 2020 (11:00 pm)

    $5k for the art and then $45k back to funding SPD in WS?

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