Grade and Griffith to Create Art for Sea-Tac

As Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Port of Seattle Art Program work together to renovate the North Satellite Terminal and the Concourse C Transit Station, a guiding principle has been the creation of an unmistakably Northwest sense of place. You’ve likely visited both locations when traveling with Alaska Airlines—now, we are delighted to announce that new artwork by Northwest artists John Grade and Cable Griffith will greet you there in the coming years.

Grade has been selected to create art for a prominent, elevated wall in the North Satellite. It’s the first thing you’ll see as you come up the escalator from the train, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore it from many angles throughout the concourse. Griffith’s work will transform the vertical space between a set of escalators into an art experience that will evolve as you travel between the train and Concourse C above.

Grade_Middle Fork
John Grade, Middle Fork, 2015, on display at the Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of the artist.

John Grade—who recently received national acclaim for his piece Middle Fork, featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery—is no stranger to creating large-scale, awe-inspiring works. Middle Fork began with a living, 140-foot tall, old-growth hemlock tree near the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River. Rather than using digital rendering tools, Grade and his team made a partial plaster cast of the tree by hand before building the sculpture on the surface of this cast. Its many, many individual parts were touched by many volunteer hands, accumulating into the larger whole at MadArt Studio in South Lake Union. Grade’s floor-to-ceiling Wawona sculpture in the ground floor atrium at the Museum of History & Industry, invites visitors to touch and interact with the piece, looking up, down and all around. Creating an intimate, immersive experience—both for himself as the artist working with source material, and for viewers of his artwork—is central to Grade’s approach.

Cable Griffith, Two Lights in the Woods, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.
Cable Griffith, Two Lights in the Woods, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.

Cable Griffith brings a distinctly modern and hybrid approach to representing the Northwest landscape. Often drawing on personal camping photographs, Google Earth satellite images, and early video game aesthetic, his work references a longstanding relationship to landscape – both real and imagined. Griffith says that he plans to create work that “rewards Sea-Tac visitors’ desire for discovery,” using the experience of viewing the work on an escalator to enhance the effect of the artwork. This month, make sure to experience some of Griffith’s landscapes at G. Gibson Gallery in Pioneer Square!

In September, in partnership with the Port of Seattle Art Program, Public Art 4Culture hosted the call for artists for these opportunities to create welcoming front doors to the Pacific Northwest. 182 artist applications from around the country and Canada, six finalist interviews and three panel meetings later, we look forward to seeing how John Grade and Cable Griffith will transform your Sea-Tac travelling experience!