Find Posts By Topic

New public artwork just landed in Highland Park | LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK

Artist Matthew Mazzotta’s larger-than-life Steller’s jay is now perched at the top of Highland Park Way SW. Photo credit: Tim Durkan

Blog stats: 750 words | 4-minute read

Quick links:

Overview: Where’s the Party art installation

In 2022, a community selection panel chose artist Matthew Mazzotta to create a new work of art as part of the Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St Safety Improvements Project. Today, in collaboration with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, we are excited to introduce West Seattle’s newest public artwork, Where’s the Party: Elevating Nature and Resilience.

Perched atop a hill at the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St, this new sculpture cannot be missed. Mazzotta’s 17-foot-tall fiberglass representation of a Steller’s jay creates a gateway to the Highland Park and Delridge neighborhoods, welcoming all to this unique part of Seattle.

“The mythology that surrounds the Steller’s jay incorporates a message of hope that teaches us fearlessness, adaptability, and survival. These unique birds remind us to pay attention and not allow ourselves to be placed in a position in which power is misused against us.” – Matthew Mazzotta

Steller’s jays are largely resident birds (they generally don’t migrate) and are very social, traveling in groups and joining mixed-species flocks. The title Where’s the Party comes from the fact that a group of Steller’s jays has many collective nouns, including a “band,” a “cast,” and a “party” of jays.

Two more views of Matthew Mazzotta’s Steller’s jay as it’s installed to its new surroundings in Highland Park on November 9, 2023. Photo credit: Tim Durkan.

In developing the concept for Where’s the Party, Mazzotta reflected that Seattle’s largest continuous urban forest is adjacent to the area. He sought to showcase this proximity to nature and further highlight ideas of elevating nature and resilience.

The community selection panel also had a strong desire for the new artwork to incorporate a feeling of fun, humor, and color. Mazzotta’s piece clearly delivers all of these, which is why his concept was unanimously selected. Where’s the Party brings whimsy and joy to an intersection that will be safer and more accessible with a suite of improvements that are nearly complete. We expect to finish installing all project elements by early 2024.

“Isn’t it wonderful to see how a transportation project can make a big splash in the Delridge community? Not only has it ramped up safety and made it easier for people to walk and roll, but it’s bringing people together around vibrant public art. Where’s the Party, is a celebration of a fantastic partnership that includes SDOT, the Office of Arts & Culture, the talented artist Matthew Mazzotta, and, of course, our amazing local community.” – SDOT Director Greg Spotts

“Community-driven public art showcases the values and unique characteristics of Seattle neighborhoods. This new public artwork, Where’s the Party, embodies the joyful sprit of Highland Park and invites community members to come together.” – ARTS Director, Gülgün Kayim

Image of a Steller's jay bird perched atop a post on a sunny day, as a piece of public art.
Artist Matthew Mazzotta’s larger-than-life Steller’s jay perched at the top of Highland Park Way SW. Photo credit: Tim Durkan

Community celebration on November 14 in Highland Park – Join us!

We will host a celebration and meet-the-artist event on Tuesday, November 14 from 4 – 6 PM. Join us at the sculpture on the SW corner of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St at 4 PM and then continue two blocks south to the Highland Park Corner Store for more conversation with Matthew Mazzotta and delicious hot beverages on us!

Map showing a new public artwork installation called "Where's the Party" at the corner of SW Holden St and Highland Park Way SW. Also, a community celebration will be held at the Highland Park Corner Store at the corner of SW Kenyon St and Highland Park Way SW.
Map of the public art location and community celebration location. Graphic: SDOT

Thank you for your support!

Where’s the Party was a 1% for Art project funded by the Levy to Move Seattle. Thank you, Seattle voters! We also want to give special thanks to Kay Kirkpatrick, Seattle City Councilmember Herbold, the Highland Park Action Coalition, the committee members who selected the artwork, and other community members who advocated for the improvements at Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St. 

This project is just one example of our investment in safety and placemaking. In 2022, we partnered with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture to commission four emergent public artists to create temporary art installations along the Delridge-Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway for Art Interruptions. We’re also working to improve safety for people who walk, roll, bike, drive, and take transit throughout Seattle. Check out our recent summer highlights here. Thank you for your time and interest!