Sketched July 30, 2009
Seattle artist Kristen Ramirez has been working from an unusual studio since last May. As artist-in-residence for the Seattle Department of Transportation, she has set up shop in the northeast tower of the historic Fremont bridge, which opened in 1917. Her project: to create an audio show that people can listen to while they wait in their cars when the bridge is open. This happens an average of 35 times a day, making it one of the busiest drawbridges in the world.
From birds singing and sailboats honking to the bells of the rails coming down and the sound of the bridge going up, Ramirez has recorded all sorts of noises from the tower, which was used as storage until the renovation of the bridge two years ago. In addition to that, people have been calling a special phone line to leave their memories about the bridge. “They are lovely stories,” Ramirez said. In one voice message, a man tells the story of a woman who hid behind one of the steel girders and went up with the bridge on the day of her 75th birthday. “There’s also a story about a man who proposed to his wife on the bridge,” said Ramirez.
The resulting sound collage will be ready by mid September, when Ramirez will wrap up her residency with a big celebration of the bridge. Flags will be waving and music will be playing. Ramirez will post signs with a phone number to call to listen to the completed audio piece.
Most Read Local Stories
- 1 protester dead, 1 injured after man drives into protesters on I-5 in Seattle VIEW
- Call it the 'boss tax:' Seattle finally finds a potent way to tax the rich
- Coronavirus daily news updates, July 4: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- A COVID-19 outbreak on UW's Greek Row hints at how hard it may be to open colleges this fall
- Surge in state COVID-19 cases driven by Eastern Washington
This is not the first public art project associated with the bridge’s towers, explains Lori Patrick, spokesperson for the city’s Arts and Cultural Affairs office, which commissioned Ramirez. In the 1990s, Rodman Gilder Miller‘s neon “Rapunzel” and “Elephant and Child” were installed in the bridge’s northern towers, where they remain. Ramirez’s 5-month long project has a $20,000 budget that comes from the Seattle Department of Transportation’s one-percent art fund.
You can track Ramirez’s progress at her blog The Bridge Report, where she also posted a picture of me while I did the sketch.
There’s no sitting on the shoreline at this designated public right of way in Eastlake — just signs and brambles
REACH THE END of East Edgar Street in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood, and you’ll be met with a view of South Lake Union and a lot of warning signs. A bright red diamond screams “ROAD END.” Two smaller signs mark the location as a “Wildlife Sanctuary.” (I found identical signs online for $20.) Another sign, next...
TWO BOYS PAUSE by the imposing water tower at Myrtle Reservoir Park, their eyes glued to their smartphones while they exchange a few words about the game they are playing. “You win!” I overhear one of them saying. Elsewhere in the small West Seattle park, people chat in the circular viewpoint overlooking the city skyline....
The summer solstice is just about upon us. With long hours of daylight, what better time than to wander out to this gem of a beach park, where the shore comes alive this time of year.
The police killing of George Floyd has sparked a nationwide flurry of protests in support of Black Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement. Seattle Sketcher talked to some of these protesters about their thoughts.
University of Washington’s empty Red Square emphasizes how weird this college graduation season will be
At a time of year when college campuses are usually teeming with happy families who've come together to celebrate their newly minted college graduates, campuses all over the country stand deserted thanks to the novel coronavirus. But signs of hope can be found on UW's main campus.
Ready to lose your coronavirus lockdown hairstyle? This Seattle barbershop hopes business will pick up soon.
How do those eight weeks worth of hair growth feel on your head? This U District barbershop fervently hopes Phase 2 of Washington state's grand reopening plan comes sooner rather than later. You might be on the same page.