Creative Consultancies

Creative Consultancies

City of Kirkland

District 6

The City of Kirkland is seeking an artist in residence to implement the design and fabrication of Totem Lake placemaking elements, building on the recently completed Totem Lake Urban Center Enhancement + Multimodal Transportation Network Plan, as well as the planning conducted by artist Ann Marie Schneider in the 2019 Creative Consultancy award.

Project Description

The City of Kirkland is a community with a population of 86,000 and a rich tradition of supporting the arts. Support for arts and culture originated many decades ago when a group of arts constituents raised money to purchase a number of beloved bronze sculptures from a benefactor who had planned to sell them. That action led to the inauguration of the current City of Kirkland Cultural Arts Commission, a 13-member, talented board. The board oversees art programming in Kirkland, and also curates the burgeoning public art collection, its growth resulting from private donations and the 1% for art program that requires an art component of capital improvements.

The Kirkland Performance Center and Studio East are to performance art what the public art collection and the Kirkland Arts Center are to visual art. The KPC is a city-owned facility that houses the nonprofit of the same name. The KPC continues to flourish given continued City infusions of funds for roofing, a new sound system and soon to come updated theatre lighting, concession and lobby improvements. Studio East and the Kirkland Arts Center are primarily teaching facilities serving our youth. The City has participated in funding both of these entities, including $100,000 in 2017/18 total funds for Studio East staffing and seismic improvements for the Kirkland Arts Center.

It is not surprising that a large portion of the public art collection and also the major arts organizations and venues are located in downtown Kirkland with its waterfront, shopping and arts venues as well as a premier hotel. That amenity rich environment is not the case in Totem Lake, Kirkland’s economic engine, most diverse and populous neighborhood, and designated urban center. Kirkland wants to remedy that by providing a place to live, work and play and an amenity-rich environment that includes a sense of place with unique public art.

In cooperation with the Planning and Public Works Departments, the City Manager’s Office, which oversees public art and staffs the Cultural Arts Commission, is seeking funding for consulting services that would build on a recently completed study, the Totem Lake Urban Center Enhancement + Multimodal Transportation Network Plan as well as the work conducted through the 2019 Creative Consultancy Award by artist Ann Marie Schneider.

The Totem Lake Urban Center Enhancement + Multimodal Transportation Network plan identifies improvements to create walking and bike friendly environments, supporting commercial activity and a growing mixed-use neighborhood. It also seeks to establish a district identity and appeal, which it would implement through gateway markings, uniquely branded gathering places, and a wayfinding iconography. The plan sets out design concepts and locations, but the need for an art consultant to develop the Totem Lake brand or identity and related iconography is paramount.

The City is seeking a 10-12 month residency for the consultant to work with staff from participating departments. The consultant would advance the concepts developed in Phase 1 to design development, so that artists or fabricators using public funds or funds provided by private development interests, can implement the art.

Project goals and desired outcomes:

  • Design development of art concepts for major and minor gateways
  • Design development of art concepts for the circulator
  • Fabrication of initial major and minor gateway


  • Quarter 1
    Meet with City Staff to gain project context, background and goals. Learn about the area and review the Totem Lake Urban Center Enhancement and Multimodal Transportation Network Plan.
    Location identification for installation of art.
  • Quarter 2
    Design development and structural review.
    Cultural Arts Commission and City Council approval. 
  • Quarter 3 and 4
    Fabricate and install artwork.

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