Sound Transit is just two years away from opening three new stations in the U District, at Roosevelt and at Northgate. The new stations will add 4.3 new miles of traffic-free light rail, getting you from Northgate to downtown Seattle in just 14 minutes.
One goal of Sound Transit’s art program, or STart, is to incorporate art that reflects the communities we serve. The artists selected for these projects used the surrounding neighborhood as a muse.
For Northgate Station, Mary Ann Peters created a painting in glass inspired by the nature and sounds of the area: the dragonflies in the neighborhood’s green spaces, layered with abstracted wave patterns of freeway sounds.
Her main piece covers over 100 feet of the upper west windows on the passenger platform. A second, smaller artwork is in the stairwell glass facing Northeast 103rd Street.
I think these connections are what every successful public art project strives for, to make a marriage between the art and the community. -Mary Ann Peters
The laminated glass panels are painted with ceramic colors that are fired and permanently fused to the glass, making the artwork durable and long lasting.
“Handpainted glass is a world unto itself. Learning the chemistry and the artistry simultaneously was incredibly challenging,” Peters said.
In Roosevelt, neighbors requested a space where people can meet, chat and mingle.
So artists Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt created a landmark for the neighborhood, rising from the future public plaza at Northeast 67th Street and 12th Avenue Northeast.
Anchoring the south and west edges of the plaza, the artists designed two deep green floral-patterned benches to sit on a “carpet” of black concrete inset with a pattern of concentric stainless steel rings.
Contractors recently installed the centerpiece three-tiered sculpture, called “Building Blocks,” at the north end of the plaza.
It is a 49 feet tall, 21 feet wide (but only 2-1/2 feet deep) stepped pyramid, assembled from columns and beams and painted in bold tones of gold, yellow, green, blue and red.
About the artists
Mary Ann Peters’ combined studio work, installations, public art projects and arts activism have made noted contributions in the Northwest and nationally for over the past 30 years.
She lives and works in Seattle, and worked an artisan colleague Marcela Teal, along with the staff at Mayer of Munich Studio in Munich, Germany, to fabricate the art for Northgate Station. The station contractor, Absher Construction, installed it.
Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt’s award-winning practice, R&R Studios, has been published in over 250 publications worldwide and exhibited in solo and group shows in museums and galleries in America and Europe. They displayed their “Besame Mucho” “super billboard” at the Coachella music festival in 2016.
Rosario and Roberto have known each other since childhood, and studied architecture in Argentina and in New York City. They currently teach at University of Miami’s School of Architecture.
Selection panels used in awarding these art commissions consisted of representative stakeholders from the neighborhoods, Sound Transit design team architects and professional artists.