City of Mercer Island
The City of Mercer Island is developing ideas for the Greta Hackett Outdoor Sculpture Gallery and creating a sense of place throughout Aubrey Davis Park .
A critical public space that stretches from bridge to bridge on the north end of Mercer Island is undergoing exciting transformation through transportation and development projects. In 2019, we sought a Creative Consultant to help craft a vision for integrating art into those plans, and we hope to continue exploring how to enhance a current major art space; find creative, arts-based solutions for adjacent development and transportation projects; and transform the entire area into a unified space, a central community gathering space and focal point, and a significant gateway to the Island.
In the early 1990s, Mercer Island experienced a dramatic reconfiguration of its landscape with the widening of Interstate 90 and construction of Aubrey Davis Park (formerly “The Lid” park). In this change, the City saw opportunity. It envisioned enhancing the open space created by the corridor and complementing this unique landscape by providing positive public art experiences for a broad audience. To accomplish this, the City planned to cover the new two-and-a-half-mile strip of I-90 with sculptures, water, parks, and trees. Mercer Island became the first community in the state to adopt a comprehensive plan including parkland, trails, and public art.
Fast forward to 2018, when the City began undertaking a new master plan process to envision the future for Aubrey Davis Park. The master plan team engaged the Mercer Island Arts Council to develop a cohesive vision for how Islanders from all walks of life will experience, explore, and discover in the park. The Arts Council, under the guidance of City staff, will complete this preliminary visioning process by September 2019 and share with the community for feedback before the plan is adopted at the end of the year. With this parkwide vision guiding the way, Mercer Island hopes to collaborate with a Creative Consultant to explore opportunities and energize community support to implement the vision.
We are using our first Creative Consultancy grant to test ideas for the Greta Hackett Outdoor Sculpture Gallery, a notable arts-centric space located in the heart of Mercer Island’s Town Center/Aubrey Davis Park and an area currently in flux: Two major development projects currently bookend the gallery – a forthcoming Link light rail station on the north end and a proposed mixed-use development on the southeast end. In this next round of Creative Consultancy grants, we aim to continue developing ideas for the outdoor gallery or to consider other opportunity areas to build off the vision for creating and maintaining a sense of place throughout the park.
The Mercer Island Arts Council and Mercer Island Parks & Recreation will be engaged with the residency. The Creative Consultant may also have the opportunity to connect with other City departments, downtown business owners, regional transportation and development organizations, or additional stakeholders.