Artists selected for new work to be placed in Olympia’s Eastside


The Olympia city council has approved the Arts Commission’s recommendation of metal design artists Jennifer Corio and Dave Frei as project artists for the Martin Way Pacific Avenue Art Crossing.

Following the city's approval, Stephanie Johnson of the Parks, Arts & Recreation department said the artists would receive a familiarization tour to help in drafting the concept plan. This would include; a transportation engineer to provide information on what is allowed and not allowed for the space; meetings with neighborhood associations; and a historic preservation officer to assist Corio and Frei in the tour who will tell the artists the neighborhood's history and stories. 

“One of the great things about public art is that it reflects community. The artists are really taking all this information in…and turning it into something else," Johnson said of the past public art projects. 

The artists will present the draft concept plan at an Arts Commission’s public hearingand will come back to the city council for approval. 

The artists will begin fabrication and installation of the artwork after the Arts Commission reviews the final design details.


Arts Commission chair Jim Burlingame said the artists impressed the jury with their interest in learning and research. They demonstrated a strong interest in getting to know the community around the project area.

The juries are composed of neighborhood association representatives, Arts Commission and Planning Commission representatives. The Community Livability and Public Safety Committee also participated in the review process on February 23, 2022.

He said Corio and Frei had completed similar projects in traffic corridors.

Some of their art projects include:

  • Philosophy Joy in Kennewick, Washington – a playful, sophisticated sculpture with appropriate scale brightness
  • Leaves of Change – a bright, whimsical sculpture for a senior living community explores themes of transformation of change. Both butterfly and cocoon glow at night with LED lighting cycles through various patterns.
  • The Homecoming in Moscow, Idaho – a traffic couplet at the complex intersection on the north entry into downtown Moscow. The design required visibility for drivers and pedestrians and the theme was to cultivate a sense of coming home.
  • Tulip Dance installed in the Skagit Riverwalk Park, Mount Vernon
  • Golden Connection in Railroad Park, Ashland, Oregon – the goal is to create art celebrating transformation. This is to honor the Chinese railway workers who built the rails despite discrimination.

According to Johnson, the first two projects, one in West Bay Drive – Guardians: Watcher and Fighter by Lin McJunkin and Milo White; Eastside Street – Unity: Tree People and People of the Water by Andrea Wilbur-Sigo, are completed.

The projects are part of the eight-series art plan developed by the Olympia Planning Commission and the Arts Commission. They identified eight major gateways throughout the city to place unique public arts.


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