Arts Commission recommends two artists for new Mountlake Terrace Civic Campus

Mountlake Terrace Assistant City Manager Stephen Clifton (center right) explains a point to the Arts Advisory Commission.

Mountlake Terrace residents can expect a variety of artwork on the city’s new Civic Campus after the Arts Advisory Commission unanimously voted Tuesday night to forward to the city council a recommendation to work two artists.

By a 7-0 vote, the Arts Advisory Commission recommended proposals by C.J. Rench and Louise McDowell — two of the four finalists who had been selected to present designs to the community for the future Town Center Park/Plaza. The plaza will be located between the new city hall and the corner of 232nd Street Southwest and 58th Avenue West.

Arts Advisory Commission Chair Judy Ryan said the commission members had a hard time picking just one proposal, because they favored the submissions from both Rench and McDowell.

“At the last meeting, we couldn’t decide, because everybody liked both of them,” she said. “Then we found a compromise might be a good thing to do.”

Under city policy, the Civic Campus redevelopment project – which includes a new city hall, police station addition and park/plaza area –  requires that 1 percent of the construction budget fund visual art. The current budget for an art installation on the Civic Campus is $87,000, which according to the vote taken Tuesday would be split between the artists in an amount to be determined later depending on the artists’ needs.

After the panel decided to feature both artists, Assistant City Manager Stephen Clifton reached out to McDowell and Rench about sharing the budget. Both agreed to the idea, he said

“I did tell them, depending on what’s ultimately decided, (the budget division) is fluid either way,” he said.

CJ Rench rendering.

Rench’s proposal, “Mountlake Natives,” includes sculpture designs inspired by native grasses from the Mountlake Terrace area. The project would include a grouping of three 16- to 25-foot-tall grasses made of stainless steel and mild steel.

In his proposal, Rench said that using mild steel, which is set to naturally patina or rust, along with both stainless steel and acrylic leaves, “creates a durable, maintenance-free, climate-appropriate year-round sculpture for Mountlake Terrace.”

Rench’s proposal also included the installation of benches, a swing and bike racks.

Louise McDowell figures.

Louise McDowell proposed three-dimensional figures that reflect the family-oriented spirit of Mountlake Terrace and the community’s diversity and the “Circle of Life.”

The three life-sized, cast-bronze groupings are aimed at visually demonstrating “the value of coming together as a community,” “the importance of a gathering place,” and the “generational impacts on the growth of the community and its members,” the proposal states.

The Art Advisory Commission’s recommendation will be brought before the Mountlake Terrace City Council during its July 1 business meeting.

To learn more about the Civic Campus project, visit the project page on the city’s website.

–Story by Cody Sexton

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