Throughout High Point, art reminds the public that being a good neighbor extends to our environment as well as to the family next door. Playful concrete splash blocks that catch rainwater flowing from downspouts are embossed with salmon or creek-inspired designs by artist Bruce Myers. They remind residents of their stewardship of Longfellow Creek. In the Market Garden, at SW Juneau and 32nd Avenue SW, an arched entryway was created from recycled wood from the trees removed from the neighborhood. Led by public art specialist, Milenko Matanovic, High Point residents, local schools and neighborhood businesses assisted in decorating fence boards in artistic patterns, which were then carved out, painted and applied to the fence. Recycled cedar was used to build the handmade shelters, tables and benches, with images of plants carved into the structures.
At the north end of High Point pond along SW Juneau Street, steel plated Orca dorsal fins of varying heights designed by Myers represent this endangered whale species. Other Myer-inspired work includes polished boulders sandblasted with images of insects and bronze plaques decorated with images of fish. In honor of Seattle’s famous rain, sections of sidewalks and streets are scored in a mesmerizing concentric circle pattern designed by Myers that, when wet, resembles the rings formed when a pebble is dropped into a pond. Neighborhood residents will be invited to create art elements to adorn a large mound that is the focal point of the central park. The mound and its winding path will serve as both viewing point and casual amphitheater for community gatherings and performances.
High Point’s Market Garden features tasty organic produce grown by High Point residents. A service of the Cultivating Communities program of the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, gardeners sell their harvest, May through October, to subscription holders. The majority of proceeds go to the residents – many of whom are Southeast Asian immigrants who farmed in their homelands. For information, call (206) 723-0678.
Throughout High Point, large mature trees provide natural shelter from the sun as a place for a picnic or a game of catch. Plaques in front of many of the trees note their common, scientific, and oftentimes, adoptive names – names like “Big Poppa” and “Shady” given to them by the children who helped to save them. In the early planning stages of High Point’s revitalization, neighborhood children met with the developer to request that as many of the trees as possible be saved.
The developer listened and went to great lengths to protect and preserve the legacy trees of High Point. At the beginning of construction, an arborist surveyed the trees, giving each a dollar value that went as high as $71,000 for a single tree. Protective fences and warning signs gave information about the tree and its value, which would need to be paid should someone on the construction site cause damage. When practical, trees that had to be removed were milled for reuse on the site. Today 100 mature trees still stand. They remind residents of the roots of the community – celebrating its past, present and future.