Art covers fence around vacant Sunset Bowl lot

The fence around the former Sunset Bowl property at 14th and Market has become the canvas for two Ballard artists.

Anne Baumgartner and Pam Gray started planning the “On the Fence” display this past spring after getting the thumbs up from Avalon Bay, the property owner. “They [Avalon Bay] loved the idea and thought it would be a terrific way to give back some energy to the community,” Baumgartner tells us.

Each of the 12-foot sections represents a letter of the alphabet, Baumgartner says, and each is made up of recycled materials. “The image sources are Ballard-based when possible, as well as random and obscure things that start with the letter,” Baumgartner says, “The idea was to make it accessible for all ages and types of people and be viewable/readable from the car or bus passing by. Children and families have a good time figuring out the connections.”

The art will be up until the middle of September when Baumgartner and Gray will organize a take-down party. “There has been some random violence and graffiti on weekend nights, and too much of that might force us to end it sooner,” Baumgartner tells us. (Thanks Armand for the photos!)

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16 thoughts to “Art covers fence around vacant Sunset Bowl lot”

  1. A bunch of cardboard signs is an art installation??? OK, some of them are cute. But most of them are just ugly. So the whole site is ugly on top of an eyesore. Where are the taco wagons???

  2. If you take a look at the fence that surrounds the old Denny's.
    The “whatever you'd like to call them” have started their own version, complete with fowl words

  3. It's a large space and the potential for an art installation to brighten it up or to make a statement or to encourage people to think, or to just look nice is there. Unfortunately a collage of small pieces without a cohesive look doesn't work well in this context. The empty space behind the fence is already a representation of destruction, chaos, and failure. The fencing is uneven, adding to that same feeling. If the artists took this into account they would not have created an installation that only adds to that. A series of pieces isn't even the problem, it's just that attaching a bunch of disparate collage pieces to an uneven fence blocking an uneven ugly landscape is going to look more like a collection of tags and graffiti than it will look like the intentional act of an artist. If any consideration was made to calm the blight behind the fence, this same collection of collage elements could simply be mounted to equally sized and spaced boards lending the entire piece some order and inviting the viewer to then explore each piece. As it is now the project in it's entirety is so chaotic that it overwhelms at first look and fails to be compelling enough to draw you in for a closer look. It's unfortunate that Ballard's first attempt at covering the sores of a bygone era with art are no more pleasing to look at than the wound itself.
    For an example of a perfectly good solution to calming the blight of a chain link fence you should take a look at the bus yard down by the stadium. The installation of what looks like coffee cup lids on the 30' tall fence creates large scale pictures from across the street and an interplay of white spaces and open fence from up close.
    For an example of a good art in a vacant lot, there was Dan Corson's Oscillating Field on Capitol Hill recently using a laser and some waving sticks.

  4. I hate that so-called 'installation' so much. It just looks like a bunch of junk. I think the 'artists' were trying to do something nice for the community, but all the random cardboard makes the area an even bigger eyesore than it was.

  5. I agree with SugarPlum. When I first saw it going up I thought vandals were responsible. I laughed out loud when I read that it was “art.” Yuk.

  6. Sheesh, what a bunch of sourpusses! This is a very low budget, temporary installation, and I applaud the artist's initiative and effort. SPG's example are great, but clearly bigger budget and not really comparable. It's a wonder anyone tries to do anything positive around here when all they get is this kind of grief!

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