"Tree' and 'Roots' proposed public art installations unanimously approved for Martin Way and Pacific Avenue in Olympia

Final details to be presented in February


The Olympia City Council unanimously approved Martin Way and Pacific Avenue Art Crossing public art concept plans presented by city-commissioned artists Jennifer Corio and Dave Frei.

At the city council meeting held Tuesday, January 10, Corio presented the two art pieces concept, which she named "Tree' and 'Roots.'

According to Corio, the concept of the art represented the historical richness of the area and the things that are most important to the community – trees, connecting with neighbors, collaboration, bridging neighborhoods to the north and south, and welcoming diversity.

She said they intend to highlight the richness and assets of the surrounding neighborhoods and express a sense of connection through sharing these assets.

"Cars are passing through, and they have no idea that one block, either way, it's just rich, it's diverse,  and there's just a lot of amazing things that they're missing as they're just passing through this busy corridor," Corio told the councilmembers.


According to Corio, it brings the historical reference of the orchards. She said the apple fruits represent diversity and abundance. "It was a great way to pick through all the list of things people love that represented through a fruit tree."


The art piece shows intertwined roots with nine hands linked and reaching out to the pedestal holding a plate of apples. 

"It shows the human element of the neighborhood," Corio added.

Councilmember Dontae Payne commented that the concept "speaks to our values and who we are. There is so much symbolism."

Mayor Cheryl Selby expressed concern that the areas of the town, Martin Way and Pacific Avenue, ended up getting polluted with yard signs during the campaign season.

A city official assured that no campaign signs would be allowed in those areas, which will become an art installation.

According to Stephanie Johnson of the Parks, Arts & Recreation department, this is the third of the eight-series public art plan project developed by the Olympia Planning Commission and the Arts Commission.

Both commissions identified eight major gateways throughout the city to place unique public arts.

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 city council directed the artists to work on the final details of the art pieces and present them to the Arts Commission on February 9.


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