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Sketched Aug. 26, 2015

The Wilson-Pacific School site at North 90th Street and Wallingford Avenue in North Seattle is unrecognizable. Big excavators have removed the last of the debris from the demolished buildings and construction of a new campus will start soon.

But one important part of the school’s history has been saved intact for posterity: The towering murals of Chief Seattle, Sitting Bull and other figures of Native American culture painted by local artist Andrew Morrison over a 12-year span, between 2001 and 2013.

The process of preserving the artwork involved securing the walls with steel braces, cutting through 1-foot concrete, putting the detached sections on hydraulic lifts for easy transportation and, lastly, covering them with protective shrink wrap.

Morrison had to convince the school district that the murals were worth saving, so I can imagine how relieved he is now that his masterpieces are secured. When they are integrated into the new middle and elementary schools that will open here in 2017, he said “they will be a heck of a present to unwrap.”

The last of Andrew Morrison’s eight murals was detached from the ground earlier this week. Excavators were leveling the terrain just a few feet away when I made this sketch.
The last of Andrew Morrison’s eight murals was detached from the ground earlier this week. Excavators were leveling the terrain just a few feet away when I made this sketch.

I’ve sketched and written about Morrison and his murals before:
Artist stands tall as murals survive. Jan. 17, 2015
Paint successfully removed from vandalized Native American murals. Feb. 25, 2015