With no art events to write about during these early months of the pandemic, I often took walks in search of outdoor art. I picked up that habit again last weekend when I was looking for a new eco-friendly facility along the Duwamish River. Created by Sarah Kavagethe artist-in-residence of the city of Tukwila, the Riverton Creek Art Walk consists of five installations, three of which are live.
Located along a short stretch of the Green River Trail between Tukwila International Boulevard and East Marginal Way South, the project is nestled in a natural setting surrounded by industry and infrastructure (a light rail and an eagle made appearances when I was there). The facilities are part of the restoration of Riverton Creek where it meets the Duwamish River.
In the interests of salmon passage, two culverts and gate valves have been removed, allowing the fish to continue swimming. One of the facilities, “A Refuge”, is right next to the water crossing. The felled log (only visible at low tide) was organically dyed and sculpted with a shoal of tadpole-like images, then placed back into the creek bed where it now creates a resting pool for the salmon.
At the nearby pedestrian underpass is “Freedom of the River”, a series of murals commissioned from local multilingual speakers featuring quotes from different cultures (Vietnamese, Latino, Somali, Duwamish) about the relationship between rivers and the community. “Without a river there are no men. Without our people there is no river,” reads a Lushootseed quote from Duwamish tribesman and river cleanup advocate James Rasmussen. Ken Workman, descendant of Chief Seattle).