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First Hill Streetcar incorporates public artwork


 Theme likens streetcar power lines to thread that sews neighborhoods together

The first of a number of site-integrated art pieces along the 2.5 mile route of the First Hill Streetcar was installed in front of Yesler Terrace.  Seattle artist, Claudia Fitch, has developed individual site-specific pieces mounted on the poles that will hold the streetcar power lines.

As the streetcar is intended to connect the various communities along its route, Ms. Fitch says that she views the power line as a thread that connects these neighborhoods.  She draws on metaphors related to sewing, needlework and beadwork.  Streetcar poles are capped with the “eye of the needle.”  Additionally, “beaded poles” are being installed such as the one pictured at Yesler Terrace.

Ms. Fitch worked closely with community representatives of Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon to design the beads along Jackson Street. The poles on S Jackson Street incorporate large scale, abstract bead shapes that reflect the visual vocabulary (forms, colors and references) of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures.  The pole at Sixth and Jackson, in the area sometimes referred to as Japantown, will have the shape and colors of a Taiko Drum.  At Seventh Avenue and Jackson Street, the Chinatown theme is Four Seasons Flowers, and in Little Saigon at Tenth Avenue S and S Jackson Street, the installation will be lantern forms with drum patterns. 

The artwork has been coordinated with the City’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and is funded through funds transferred to SDOT from Sound Transit.