From These Hills, From These Waters
King County Courthouse
Black and white murals present an evocative look at King County history.
Stories of King County history, places, and people play out across this series of graphite and charcoal murals, which depict scenes that span from Puget Sound to the Cascades over 200 hundred years.In telling these stories, the murals eschew chronological time, mixing together elements from different eras.
I believe that the meaning of locales is not just what they are at any given point in time, but what they were in some former time or might become at some future time. The portrayal of Native Americans in modern dress in ancient surroundings is one kind of result. The showing of three historic King County Courthouses in one view is another. –Douglas Cooper
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Cooper also combines multiple perspectives in his drawings, some exaggerated, some rotated. This approach gives viewers the sense that they could “walk right into” the murals from any angle and emphasizes dramatically sloped architecture and landscapes. He uses a method of memory drawing that presents details based on their remembered significance—with the most important parts appearing the largest.
The murals show King County from West to East, beginning in the West Corridor of the courthouse lobby, passing through its central rotunda, and extending down its East Corridor. Among the many landmarks, locations, and histories included are Lake Union; 1909’s Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition; the mining, logging, and fishing industries; musical figures Quincy Jones and Kurt Cobain; Snoqualmie Valley and Falls; women's rights suffragettes; Civil Rights protesters; and Seattle’s namesake, Chief Sealth. From panel to panel, the murals focus on themes of wealth—both its creation and its distribution.
Gregoire Picher assisted Cooper with the figures in the murals and Patricia Clark contributed to their geographic and architectural features.
Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Cooper primarily makes panoramic civic murals. Some of his other large murals can be seen in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Frankfurt, New York City, and Rome.
About the Location
King County Courthouse The King County Courthouse is a landmark building in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district. Over the years, it has grown and changed to accommodate a booming population, advances in technology, and earthquake retrofits. Today the Courthouse remains a hub of government activity, housing the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of King County. The Courthouse and…
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