We want to help generate mural installations all throughout SE Seattle, with the goal of instilling pride and a sense of ownership in the community. Collaboration and partnership with organizations, neighborhood businesses and community residents are key to the success and sustainability of this project. As time goes by, we look forward to seeing the landscape of the south end change, as beautiful art installations surround our communities.
Ark Lodge Cinema Mural Project (2013)
“Columbia Blooming” is a collaborative mural by the artists Jake Millett and Camille Shumann, both of whom were born and raised in the Columbia City neighborhood. The piece was painted live over the course of five different events this summer, put on to celebrate the Columbia City ArtWalk. The artists were inspired and fueled by live musicians and the energy of the community that not only attended, but participated in the events. The piece is an ode to our neighborhood, the numerous faces of the character watering the flowers are what make up Columbia City. We are proud to live in a community that is not distinguished by a single trait, but rather by its diversity. It is home to a vast array of ethnicities, eccentricities, and characters. The flowers represent the beauty that all these different elements bring to our neighborhood, as they are the products of this wonderful little melting pot tucked away in South East Seattle. The water falling on the flowers from the watering can is an ode to the ever-present drizzle we have in Seattle, and represents the efforts our community must make in order for the flowers and fruits of our creativity to bloom. As condos move in and the neighborhood continues to develop and expand, our sense of culture must remain present. The reopening of the cinema has been a dose of life and creativity pumped back into the neighborhood. It is not only a place for families and friends to congregate for a film, it has become an artistic hub, commissioning the mural, as well as hosting monthly arts and crafts fairs and other numerous cultural events. We feel as artists it is important to be the tangible records of our neighborhood’s pulse. We hope the mural can inject some inspiration and creativity back into the neighborhood that has molded us since childhood. Our community has fueled us artistically, and we wish to pass the torch of creativity back into Columbia City so that other artists not only feel welcome, but feel important, and our sense of culture can remain proud and present in South East Seattle.
Columbia City Mural Project 2012-2013
The Columbia City Mural Project worked for 18 months with 11 different organizations around the Rainier Valley to create a multi-panel art installation about the ‘past, present, and future’ of Columbia City. From start to finish, people from the community helped conceptualize, design, and paint each panel of this mural. Lead by local artist, Emily Taibleson, this project was CAC’s first major art installation.
Aside from the scores of community members that just wanted to paint and add their part, we worked with City Year, Rainier Valley Food Bank, Valley & Mountain, Horn of Africa, Vietnamese Friendship Association, BikeWorks, Washington Services for the Blind, Seattle Urban Academy, Consejo, Solid Ground, and the Rainier Valley Lions Club.
To the third graders at Wing Luke who described to me their dreams of death, to the teenagers at Urban Academy who cursed and swore and drew themselves as animals in cages, to the recovering addict who held me when I was afraid I couldn’t do her story justice, to all of the mothers, who will never get the paint out of their children’s clothes, to the musicians at ArtWalk who played into the night while I painted in the dark, to all of the hundreds of people who have shared their time and their stories and their drawings with me through this process. I don’t know what the future really looks like, but the sooner we begin to imagine and build exactly what we want it to be, the closer we will be to living our dreams. The world is what you make it. We can choose to create beautiful spaces and experiences for ourselves and our children. I Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your presence, your participation and your love. I could not have done it without you.
– artist Emily Charlotte Taibleson.