Skip to Content


Tor Lee, John Osebold, and Sara Osebold

Essential City

A love letter to Seattle.

Sara Osebold. Changed by Lightning, 2022. Watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite on Nepal paper. 11 x 8.5 inches
  • February 2 - 23, 2023
  • Opening: Thursday, February 2, 6:00 — 8:00pm

The idea for Essential City was born prior to the pandemic. Since then, our world has undergone drastic change as we’ve endured lockdowns and catastrophic losses, experienced the communal power of widespread protests, and witnessed once vibrant urban centers shuttered. Despite this overwhelming transformation, when we look and listen closely, we recognize that aspects of our chosen home have remained constant, providing a sense of refuge and hope.

Like many cities, Seattle is elastic. We’ve grown accustomed to booms and busts. It is a place of stark and, at times, beautiful contradictions: bright dandelions push their way through cracks in the sidewalk, adjacent to the clamorous construction of residential towers; homeless encampments sprout and disappear, while multinational corporations grow ever more wealthy; and rain, like a murmuring mind track, drizzles down, cleaning the air, feeding the earth, and graying the sidewalks.

Through word, image, and sound, poet Tor Lee, visual artist Sara Osebold, and musician John Osebold honor this abiding spirit. Essential City is a collection of their love letters and thank-you notes, gleanings and offerings, valuables and discards woven together as gift for Seattle.