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Public Art Program

Created in 1988 as part of the City of Auburn Arts Commission's roster of multi-disciplinary cultural arts programs, the Art in Public Places Program is the thread that connects art, people and place. The program seeks to draw residents and visitors together; to echo a sense of time and place; and to enrich the experience that is distinctively Auburn. Through the acquisition of original artworks of definable artistic merit, and stewardship of the established collection, the program is an integral component of the City's endeavor to make Auburn a vital place to live, work and visit.

City of Auburn also programs a rotating Downtown Sculpture Gallery.  A tour of the City of Auburn Public Art Collection through your smart phone is available through the Stqry.com application.

Auburn's downtown core is home to several artworks.

Right in the heart of downtown Auburn in the City Hall Plaza (25 W Main St) is Wenatchee artist Richard Beyer's bronze, "Children Playing Train at the Switch." In honor of the City of Auburn's Centennial, the sculpture celebrates the City's past as a railroad town and what lies ahead, down the track. View more information about Richard Beyer.

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Children Playing Train at the Switch

Also located in City Hall Plaza (25 W Main Street) are "Civic Lanterns" created by Sheila Klein in 2011 for the remodel of the Plaza.  The form of the traditional bell street lighting is made in a large scale and lines of fiber-optics thread through the lantern, creating a drawing in light.  Functional plaza lighting is hidden in the sculptural civic symbol.  A custom stainless steel finial and base complete the piece.   The crafted "Civic Lanterns" provide both functional and atmospheric lighting as well as being sculptural.

 Klein
Civic Lanterns
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Tobu Bo

Inspired by the nearby watershed to downtown Auburn, Spokane artists Tom Askman and Lea Anne Lake created five dragonfly sculptures that are scattered along W Main Street between the Burlington Northern and Union Pacific Railroads. In honor of the Japanese Americans from the Auburn Valley who were interned during World War II, Askman and Lake named the artwork, "Tobu Bo," the Japanese phrase used for dragonfly, which literally translates, "flying pole."
About Tom Askman 
About Lea Anne Lake

Seattle artist Garth Edwards created bollard heads, a kiosk, a story pole, and various tree grate figures to capture a distinctive pedestrian plaza and reflect the character of downtown Auburn. Garth Edwards website

Tom Teitge's "Centennial Mural" honors the City's 100th birthday depicting Auburn's past and present.

When the City of Auburn decided to move the police and justice center into a new building, it selected the historic and iconic landmark grocery building. Architectural lighting designer and artist Sidney Genette was brought on the design team to create his signature neon artworks to compliment the building's design. Blue neon lighting highlights the contour of the building's art-modern canopy and marquee. Just inside the main entrance, "Blue Neutron Blue" is a light installation that explores the color blue and all its variations. About Sidney Genette

The Sound Transit Art (STart) program commissioned two artists to enhance its Auburn Transit Station plaza and parking garage. Jean Whitesavage and Nick Lyle hand forged vines ("Untitled") personify luxuriant growth and provide a soft contrast to the brick wall of the garage. Bruce West's "Standing Pear & Friends," and "Strawberry Duo" refer to Auburn's agricultural history. Photos courtesy of Sound Transit.

About STart 
About Jean Whitesavage and Nick Lyle
About Bruce West

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Standing Pear and Friends 

While STart made plans for Whitesavage/Lyle and West's artwork installation, Auburn commissioned a companion installation to tie together the transit station and the downtown core. Paul Sorey's "Catch the Train Running Figures" are eleven stainless steel figures along A St and within the Auburn Transit Station plaza that represent the multitude and diversity of people who make their way (running, so they won't miss the train or bus!) to Auburn Transit Station.
Paul Sorey website

Les Gove Community Campus and Park (named for former Auburn Mayor, Les Gove) a center point civic and community pride. Located between 12th St SE to the south and 9th St SE to the north, and M St to the east and Auburn Way S to the west, the campus is home to Auburn King Co. Library, Auburn Senior Activity Center, White River Valley Museum, Auburn Parks, Arts & Recreation, King County housing and the former home of the YMCA (future site of Auburn Community Center). In the middle of these institutions is a 20 acre park full of various amenities and the home to several annual summer festivals and concerts. It is also home to several public artworks. More information about Les Gove Community Campus and Park.

Dennis Evans and Nancy Mee's spectacular "Mnemosyne's Opus," located along the south ceiling line of the Auburn King Co. Library, is comprised of 15 sections that make up three panels that tell the story of the written language, the creation of the book, and the symbols that comprise the alphabet. Mnemosyne (nem-OS-e-nee) is the Greek Goddess of the Muses and of Memory, which mankind depended upon before the creation of the written word. About Evans and Mee

Orcas Island artist Bruce Myers was commissioned by the City of Auburn in 2009 to create an artwork for the Les Gove Park Activity Center. The two panel 13’ x 13’ painted steel artwork is a representation of the Auburn Valley topography. Flanking each side of the climbing wall, this most recent addition to the City’s Public Art Collection, references the elevation of landscape as the climbers literally climb upward... gaining perspective. The seating boulders surrounding the wall are a physical reminder of the natural setting in which the sport of climbing originated.

MeyersTopography

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You Are Here

Camano Island artist Ries Niemi took on two commissions for the City. "You Are Here" is a functioning sundial atop an oversized picnic bench. A representation of the solar system is inlaid in metal, which alters a commonplace object into a dialogue of what one's place is within the world and universe (commissioned with support from Auburn Soroptimist). "5 Moments," are five scenes located at the entrance to, and within the Auburn Sr. Activity Center. The scenes depict five individuals from both Auburn's history and the Sr. Center's history. About Ries Niemi

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Threshold

Seattle artists Ingrid Lahti and Phillip Levine at different times addressed entryways into the Les Gove campus areas. Levine's "Threshold" beckons the visitor with an extended, outward arm to cross the threshold and enjoy all the campus has to offer. Lahti's "Les Gove Campus Entryway" highlights a place where the White River once flowed through the campus and honors the industrial history of the city with lettering once standard use by the railroad.

View more information about Phillip Levine or Ingrid Lahti.

Many of the City's public artworks are located in various places throughout the city of Auburn, most within the multitude of parks and green spaces within the city.

Eastern Washington artist Brad Rude's "The Long Look" at Centennial Viewpoint Park, located across the street from Mountain View Cemetery, is perched above the Auburn Valley with a spectacular view of Mount Rainier. The Deer bears witness to the changes of the valley, from the Native American settlements, agricultural and industrial economy, on into the future. About Brad Rude

McLaughlinStrawberry Calf

 

"Strawberry Calf” by artist Michael McLaughlin is located at Lea Hill Park (corner of 124th AVE SE and 316th Street SE). The bronze sculpture references the previous use of the site as a farm, as well as incorporating symbols of Auburn’s history such as the strawberry and dragonfly. Located in proximity to the new playground and the barn-styled picnic shelter, "Strawberry Calf" is human scale with branches reaching to a height of 9 feet. The sculpture serves as a lighthearted and permanent reminder of Auburn’s history and provides an iconic artwork to the Lea Hill neighborhood.

Brian Zebold also took his inspiration of the view of Mount Rainier from atop the Lakeland Hills community, and created an orb that depicts the mountain, flowing rivers, hop harvests, oak trees, and the heavens, all intricately detailed to celebrate Auburn's natural environment.

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Many are familiar with the artworks of Seattle artist Gerard Tsutakawa. "Sun Circle", located in the middle of Game Farm Park, displays the glow of the sun during a total eclipse, where the center is hidden but the rays are spread outward like a halo. About Gerard Tsutakawa
Michele Van Slykes's "Every Year the Salmon Return," located along the White River trail in Roegner Park, celebrates the White River as an important fishing ground for the Lushootseed tribe. The benches and wind sculpture depict the annual salmon migration and the nets and weirs the tribe used for fishing.
Deborah Mersky's entryway to Auburn's historic Pioneer Cemetery depicts vines, plants, animals and various Japanese symbols that adorn the fence and arch entry to the historic cemetery.
About Deborah Mersky.

Meg Pettibone has the honor of being the first commissioned artist to produce a public artwork for Auburn. "Steelhead", located in Isaac Evans Park along the Green River is carved from Black India Granite panels and represents fossilized evidence of the aquatic animals native to the Green River.

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The Equine Amusement 

Timothy Siciliano drew his inspiration from the proximity of Emerald Downs horse race track to create his "The Equine Amusement," located at the nearby 15th Avenue Metro Park-n-Ride. The sculpture is a lighthearted reminder of our artistic, agricultural and entertainment relationship with the horse.

Stylized sculptures of a golf swing and golf ball trajectory stop in time an otherwise imperceptible moment of movement in Seattle artist Susan Zoccola's "Swing" and "Flight", located at the entrance to the Auburn Golf Course Clubhouse. Learn more about Susan Zoccola.

Brannan Park is home to Auburn's Skate Park. Artists Kate Kulzer and Kevin Spitzer culled through various extreme sport skate mags and found inspiration for their "Xtreme AtmosFearic Oscilator" from a series of fish eye lens photographs depicting three different skateboard trick sequences.

Not pictured in images above: Game Farm Park, J.Isaacson, 1988; Inland #17, P.Harcharik, 1992; BNRR Bridge, N.Hammer, 1994; Veteran's Day Parade, G.Boudreau, 2007; Bicyclist Near Isaac Evans Park, J.Crain, 2008; Evergreen Washelli, D.Grothaus, 2007.