Fire Station 72 public art reflects environmental theme

October 11, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Throughout the year, as Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 rose from a barren patch on the Issaquah Transit Center site, artist Perri Lynch headed east from Seattle to observe the construction.

The longtime artist sought ideas for a public art piece commissioned for the station. The result is a series of flexible ribbons affixed to the façade of the completed building. Lights behind the ribbons illuminate the ribbons and radiate after sunset.

Perri Lynch bolts the red and yellow ribbons of her artwork together in August for the public art installation at Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72. By Greg Farrar

“The overall concept behind the work is this relationship between order and chaos, and how emergency and crisis interrupt the rhythm of our lives,” she said. “I wanted the artwork to reflect the stability but also the nimbleness that we all need.”

The artwork — and the $47,000 price tag — raised eyebrows among City Council members in June, although the council later approved funds for the piece.

Under city code, one-half of 1 percent of the initial $5 million in a project budget — plus one-quarter of 1 percent of the amount exceeding $5 million — is required to be used for public art.

The city initially set aside $32,000 for Station 72 public art. In addition, the municipal Arts Commission recommended another $10,000 in public art funding for the project.

The additional $5,000 in costs resulted because the artist changed the piece to incorporate more “green” materials. The resin used in the piece is 40 percent preconsumer recycled plastic.

“It was a great opportunity to design artwork in keeping with the larger values of the project,” Lynch said. “I love the ecological underpinnings of the station. That influenced the materials that I used.”

The untitled piece uses energy from the solar array on the rooftop to power the LED strips.

“So often, public art is brought in at the end of a major project. Often, you can tell — to the detriment of the architecture and the art,” Lynch said. “In this case, I had the opportunity to design as the station was taking shape, and that makes a huge difference.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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