March 24, 2015

Time is Memory: The beginning of the end for Capitol Hill’s red wall

It’s a beautiful spring Thursday on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Tim Marsden of Sound Transit stands in the basket of a scissor lift, efficiently working an electrical screwdriver as artist Stefan Gruber looks on.  Starting on this sunny Thursday, the attached pieces of artwork and signage are being removed from the section of wall that faces Cal Anderson Park.

© 2015 Sound Transit
Tim Marsden hands a section of Stefan Gruber's artwork "Both Worlds" to an assistant. De-installation of artwork and dismantling of the red wall next to Cal Anderson Park continues over the next several weeks. Photo: J.Babuca

As the twittersphere contemplates their #tbt posts, I’m having a bit of a Throwback Thursday moment myself.  Looking at the last works of art to grace the wall, I can’t help but think back on the many projects that this site has hosted, even before the wall existed.  Lead Artist and Curator D.K. Pan created an overarching theme of examining love, loss and the nature of change that he summed up with the words “time is memory.”  My memory is certainly teaming: here stood the beloved CafĂ© Vivace, dressed in Webster Crowell’s parasols; over here was our very first art intervention, at those row of houses where Kay Rood’s home stood; and what was in that restaurant over there again? Oh, that’s right – neon signs by Ingrid Lahti!  So much has changed, and yet part of me feels like it’s always been this way.  Once the wall comes down and the station is open, I’m sure it will feel even more so, and our collective memories of this place will give way to the new normal.

Details like this window display at the former Body Jewelry Plus are a muted memory as the character of Capitol Hill continues to evolve. Photo: J.Babuca/Sound Transit

I remember when the wall first went up, and D.K. chose red for the color, to represent love.  Love because there is so much passion for the Hill and its place as the heart of Seattle, and for the great sadness over its inevitable change. Certainly this isn’t the first time Capitol Hill has undergone a radical shift in its character, but certainly this is one that will hurt hard.  Capitol Hill needs a lot of love to shepherd it through this change, and the wall hoped to provide some of that love.  But even that red color caused a lot of angst and uncertainty – internally at Sound Transit and with the contractor – the color seemed too bold, to radical. The prevailing desire was to play it safe.  Maybe go with the tried and true "Sound Transit Blue," which had worked well on Beacon Hill.  But D.K. stuck to his instinct and as a result, Charles Mudede announced that year that the wall was “one of the area’s most impressive works of architecture.”  Thus, the lovin' began for our little construction wall. 

Over the next several weeks, the temporary art will slowly come down.  Soon a bustling light rail station will take its place and the wall will become another memory that slowly fades away.  Before that happens, let’s take some time to revisit the wall, and it’s predecessor, STart on Broadway.  As the wall is demolished, I’ll be looking back at where we started, where we’ve gone, and give you a little peek into the future of Capitol Hill Station.  Stay tuned…

Sections of artwork lean against the red wall next to Cal Anderson park.  Photo: J.Babuca

-Jennifer Babuca

March 12, 2015

Stefan Gruber

Over the next several months, sections of the Red Wall will be coming down to make way for the Transit Oriented Development and the new Capitol Hill Station scheduled to open in spring of 2016. Today, Stefan Gruber's mural, "Both Worlds", next to Cal Anderson Park was deinstalled... Here's a link to an Art Zone segment about his project.

Stefan Gruber - Art Zone Segment from Linas Phillips on Vimeo.

February 24, 2015

Writing The City

Hugo House and Sound Transit present

    Writing the City 

Volume 1 

(click Vol 1 for booklet or story title for pdf)

Time for airport coffee

Maged Zaher
Maged Zaher is the author of Thank You For the WIndow Office (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me (Tinfish Press, 2012), and Portrait of the Poet as an Engineer (Pressed Wafer, 2009). Maged is the recipient of the 2013 Genius Award in Literature from the Seattle weekly The Stranger.

Deepa Bhandaru
Deepa Bhandaru is an educator and writer in Seattle. She holds a PhD in political theory from the University of Washington and works with refugee youth in the South End.

Lisa Sturdivant is a consultant in Seattle. She likes to think and write about cities and conducted Masters’ thesis research on social housing design in Brazil.

Cheers of Beacon Hill 

Ahamefule J. Oluo is a Texas-born, Seattle-raised musician, composer, writer, and stand-up comic. In his musical career, Oluo has collaborated with artists ranging from Brooklyn-based hip-hop trio Das Racist to orchestral indie-pop darlings Hey Marseilles and currently plays in Seattle jazz-punk quartet Industrial Revelation. As a writer and stand-up comic, Oluo was a semi-finalist in NBC´s Stand-up for Diversity Comedy competition and works in close creative partnerships with comic Hari Kondabolu and writer Lindy West. 

Volume 2 

(click Vol 2 for booklet or story title for pdf)

A Story at 213 South Main Street

Charles Tonderai Mudede, Editor
Marc Lampson is an educator, lawyer, drummer, and writer. He has published poems, book reviews, scholarly articles, and two non-fiction books. He directs the Unemployment Law Project in Seattle and teaches online courses for the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University.

Simpson Park

Adrine Arakelian is an urban designer and planner, currently researching the application of process-based practices in design and planning. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she learned to explore the city as a pedestrian, despite what the song and all those mistaken people say.
Note: This essay quotes from Buster Simpson’s park proposal as reprinted in the Frye Art Museum Buster Simpson retrospective exhibition catalogue.

Cary Moon

The Future of the Waterfront

Cary Moon is an urbanist and activist in Seattle. She believes in revolutionaries, agitators, and the nexus of big ideas with small d democracy. She is a former systems engineer with a masters degree in landscape architecture and urban design.

J. Leroy Roby III

Negarra A. Kudumu is a Chicago born and Seattle based writer, researcher and consultant in the areas of arts, culture and social impact. She has a BA in Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies from Dartmouth College and a MA in International Relations & Diplomatic from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Most recently she has worked as the Artist-in-Residence at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute and currently runs Adult Programs at Frye Art Museum.

Pick Up Volume 1 & 2 Essay Booklets at the Red Wall 

Lamar Lofton at Hugo House - Writing The City
event February 24th

December 2, 2014

STars on Broadway - Honors Capitol Hill Nonprofits


Join us for a lighting ceremony: 
Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
In conjunction with Holiday Hotspot.

Meet at the corner of East John Street and Broadway in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  

Sound Transit, for the fifth year, is celebrating nonprofits on Capitol Hill that make life brighter for everyone, through partnering with the Capitol Hill Chamber, for the STars on Broadway project.
Meet at E John & Broadway
Friday Dec 5th at 6pm
STart, Sound Transit’s art program, pairs an artist with a local organization selected by the Capitol Hill Chamber to create a custom STar inspired by the nonprofit. These STars stay lit on the Capitol Hill Link light rail construction wall through the dark winter nights. The STars will be installed on the Capitol Hill Red Wall at East John Street and Broadway.


Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Promulgating universal joy and expiation of stigmatic guilt,
artist: Clyde Peterson

Artist Trust
Supporting Washington State artists creating in all disciplines,
artist: Evan Blackwell  

Jubilee Women’s Center
Rebuilding lives, one extraordinary woman at a time, 
artist: Keely Dolan

Hugo House
A place for writers – to read words, hear words,
and make your own words better, artist: Vis-a-Vis Society

Seattle Area Support Groups
Promoting well-being through peer support,
artist: Ken Turner


People’s Memorial Funeral Cooperative, artist: Maria Meneses 
Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, artist: Roy Powell 
Powerful Voices, artist: Vida Rose 
Northwest Film Forum, artist: DK Pan 
Gender Justice League, artist: Lauren Holloway

Capitol Hill Housing, artist: Dan Hawkins
Three Dollar Bill Cinema, artist: Monika Proffitt 
Velocity Dance, artist: Ezra Dickinson 
Washington Bus, artist: Susan Brown 
Friends of Olmsted Parks, artist: Jeanie Lewis

Entre Hermanos, artist: Joey Veltkamp 
Friends of the Conservatory-Volunteer Park, artist: Joanna Lepore
Ingersoll Gender Center, artist: ilvs strauss 
Reel Grrls, artist: Kelly Lyles 
Youthcare, artist: Ferdous Ahmed 

Rosehedge/Multifaith Works, artist: Michiko Tanaka 
Cal Anderson Park Alliance, artist: Rob Zverina 
Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets, artist: Jesse Brown 
Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance, artist: Sam Trout 
Gay City Health Project, artist: NKO

June 6, 2014

Britta Johnson - Streamlined Fadeout

Britta Johnson, a member of the Seattle Experimental Animation Team (SEAT), has completed her wall animation project entitled Streamlined Fadeout. Britta is the latest artist to occupy the Red Wall for the 6-month SEAT residency program, which presents the collective membership an opportunity to work on large-scale animation projects. Photos and information on her October '13 installation can be found here. Jen Graves, Pulitzer-finalist art critic for The Stranger, writes about Britta's project here.
Vimeo page -
Website -
Streamlined Fadeout from Britta Johnson on Vimeo.

January 5, 2014

STars On Broadway 2013!!!

STart (Sound Transit's art program)

Please join us for the

STars on Broadway Lighting Ceremony

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 | 5:30 p.m.

Corner of E John St & Broadway in Seattle

Sound Transit partners with the Capitol Hill Chamber to shine a light on neighborhood nonprofits who make life brighter for everyone.

STart pairs an artist with a Chamber selected organization, who creates a custom star inspired by the nonprofit’s mission. These STars stay lit on the Capitol Hill Link light rail construction wall throughout the dark winter nights. The STars will be installed on the Capitol Hill Red Wall at East John Street and Broadway on Dec. 12. They will stay up through early February.

2013 NonProfit STars on Broadway, and their STart artists:

Capitol Hill Seattle

October 23, 2013

Britta Johnson - "Streamlined Fadeout"

Streamlined Fadeout is a sculptural animation project that unfolds over several months on the SEAT
animator’s portion of the Capitol Hill Wall Project. A grid of colored hubcap “pixels” are flipped
and photographed in a series of patterns that suggests cars moving slowly in traffic; additional runs
of the pattern are photographed as months pass and the color weathers off, and the cars in the video
appear to fade away.


More information on Britta's work can be found here.

July 31, 2013

Community Supported Vertical Agriculture at the Red Wall

Community Supported Vertical Agriculture is a multi-media installation created by Joanna Lepore in collaboration with the Just Garden Project and Sound Transit. Featuring a living pallet garden, a functional rain-gutter irrigation sculpture, and a rain-dragon mural by artist Tessa Hulls, the piece is a beautiful, interactive, and community engaging addition to the Red Wall. Thanks to step-by-step instructions posted next to the garden and a companion video on the artist's website, visitors to the Red Wall surrounding Capitol Hill’s future light rail station are encouraged to try their hand at urban farming, pallet-garden style!

Join us at the installation of Community Supported Vertical Agriculture on the corner of E John and 10th Ave in Seattle, on Thursday August 8, from 6-8pm

Meet the artist and collaborators, pick herbs or help water the garden, and learn about growing fall veggies with the Just Garden Project. Hope to see you there!

For the Facebook invite and map, click here.

June 9, 2013

Coming soon! SuttonBeresCuller's For the Birds

As summer approaches, new projects are going up on the Red Wall including this latest installation by Seattle's hardest working trio of Geniuses, SuttonBeresCuller. During the month of June, 85 of these handmade bird houses, painted 'green screen' green, will grace the perimeter and high places of the wall. For information on the artists' work -

May 22, 2013

New title cards by Sign Savant, new work by Greg Boudreau

Japhy Witte aka Sign Savant, recently added a few more title cards and Greg Boudreau has installed a new painting to replace the one which was stolen from the wall several months ago.
More info on Greg's wall project can be found here.

May 13, 2013

Joanna Lepore in City Arts magazine

Coming soon to the Red Wall is Joanna Lepore's Vertical Pallet Garden project.
"The vertical pallet garden installation will showcase a beautiful, living, edible vertical garden constructed of waste materials complete with a creative, low cost irrigation solution. The installation will include three large panels detailing at-home construction of a pallet garden. A fourth panel will identify edible plants within the garden to encourage passers-by into a full sensory experience. The aim is to inspire urban Seattleites to recreate pallet gardens at their homes and apartments."

Joanna was recently published in City Arts magazine writing about her growth and development as an urban garden activist in an article entitled, The Education of an Urban Environmentalist.

January 25, 2013

NKO wins City Arts Art Walk Award!

Congrats to NKO for winning the City Arts Art Walk Award for his Red Wall project. He was chosen from a list of 10 finalists during an event on Jan. 24th. NKO received the first place award of $1,250. Kudos to City Arts and sponsors for supporting Seattle artists and Art Walks!

January 11, 2013

City Arts Art Walk Awards

We were pleased to hear that 3 of the artists who completed projects recently on the Red Wall have been noticed by the good folks at City Arts Magazine for their quarterly Art Walk Awards. Congrats to NKO who was chosen as a finalist. Greg Bourdeau and Tory Franklin were included in the People Choices Finalist category, wherein the public can vote them into the final round. Vote here.

January 10, 2013

Greg Bourdeau's painting stolen!

Greg Bourdeau's Arboretum - courtesy of the artist
One of Greg Bourdeau's recently installed paintings was stolen over the holidays. Entitled "Arboretum", the 32" x 92" painting on reclaimed wood was taken sometime between December 19-21st. If you have any information on the whereabouts, please contact the Sound Transit Art Program. Greg will be adding additional works to his installation in the coming months.

January 9, 2013

Otto Bulut - SEAT

Otto Bulut is the latest SEAT, Seattle Experimental Animation Team, artist to utilize the Red Wall for a stop-motion animation film project. As part of SEAT's residency, each artist is allotted 6-months of wall time to develop their project. Some insights into the process from Otto:

"The shoot at the wall was a great experience and was a first for me in a couple of ways.  It was my first time directing a crew on a live shoot and my first time doing pixelation (stop-motion with human models).  My expertise is in 2D puppet animation (shadow puppets and paper doll) and 2D computer animation (Flash, After Effects) and I have rarely had the opportunity to work with a crew.
Otto Bulut
The shoot went surprisingly smoothly.  I came in knowing what I wanted to get on film but not having a technical plan on how to execute it.  Seven members of S.E.A.T. showed up and worked it out with me, quickly coming up with a plan on how to get my vision captured.  I felt like our collective experience really came together to make it a fun learning experience. 

Saskia Delores with SEAT animators, Salise Hughes and Tess Martin
I am also so very grateful to the members of the community that came out to lend a hand.  The five of them were so patient and good-natured during the slow and demanding process of animation.
This experience gave me much inspiration to finish the project which is a music video for Saskia Delores, the rest of which will mostly be stop-motion with painted 2D puppets. As an added benefit, it made me excited to work with teams and live shoots in the future, directions I have long wanted to explore."

Otto with SEAT animators, Stefan Gruber and Britta Johnson, and crew
For more info on Otto Bulut - here and here 
Photos courtesy of the artist.

December 11, 2012

STars on Broadway

STars on Broadway Celebrates Third Year
(On the Capitol Hill Red Wall, on John Street at Broadway)

For the third year in a row, Sound Transit has partnered with the Capitol Hill Chamber to shine a light on neighborhood non-profits that make life brighter for everyone on Capitol Hill throughout the year.

A lighting ceremony will be held at
5:30pm, Thursday, December 13, 2012
in conjunction with Capitol Hill ArtBlitz
Meet at the Capitol Hill Chamber office (1641 Nagle Place, next to Cal Anderson Park) and promenade to the STars on Broadway site at E John St and Broadway.  (Lanterns encouraged.)

STart, Sound Transit art program, in conjunction with the Capitol Hill Chamber and the red wall curator - DK Pan, pair an artist from the Red Wall temporary art roster with a local organization to create a custom STar inspired by the non-profit.  These STars will stay lit on the Capitol Hill Link light rail construction wall through the dark winter nights.

2012 nonprofit honorees and artists:  

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog article here.
Capitol Hill Seattle Blog’s coverage of 2011 STars on Broadway lighting here.

STars on Broadway 2011, photo

Top Row, left to right:
2010 Rosehedge/Multifaith Works, Michiko Tanaka; 2010 Cal Anderson Park Alliance, Rob Zverina; 2011 Friends of the Conservatory, Volunteer Park, Joanna Lepore; 2010 Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets, Jesse Brown; 2010 Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance, Sam Trout
Bottom Row, left to right:
2011 Entre Hermanos, Joey Veltkamp; 2011 Ingersoll Gender Center, ilvs strauss (lowercase correct); 2010 Gay City Health Project, NKO; 2011 Reel Grrls, Kelly Lyles; 2011 Youthcare, Ferdous Ahmed.

December 3, 2012

Greg Boudreau

Greg Boudreau has installed 7 panels of his series on cityscapes on the Red Wall. Each painting is a laborious process involving multiple layers of hand-cut stencils and aerosol paint, created from manipulated photographs taken by the artist. The panels are constructed from re-claimed wood. For more info on the artist's work -


Transit Skyline Merge

Airport Way #1

Colonnade Park (top), I-5 Merge (bottom)

Spokane Street Ramp

11th & Pine

photos by dk pan