Silhouettes and Cutups
Island Center Forest
A steel menagerie found a new home through a remarkable multi-agency collaboration.
This spirited set of 15 animal cutouts and silhouettes marked Cris Bruch’s first-ever public commission—a combination of eight larger and seven smaller free-standing sculptures. Bruch served on the design team for King County Metro’s Northgate Transit Center, which opened in June 1992, working closely with architects Zimmer Gunsul Frasca of Portland and Barbara Oakrock of Seattle to influence the project’s overall look and feel. Bruch ultimately created Silhouettes and Cutups for that site.Nearly three decades later, the center was redeveloped and expanded to include a Sound Transit light rail station, and 4Culture was asked to find alternative placement for the sculptures. (The light rail station is now home to another permanent artwork by Bruch.) Artwork in the King County Public Art Collection often needs to be moved to accommodate growth, but in this case a remarkable and generous partnership formed to share resources: STart (Sound Transit’s art program), King County Parks, King County Metro, installation experts ArtSite Ltd., and other community stakeholders came together to successfully transfer Silhouettes and Cutups from Northgate to the Westside Trailhead at King County’s Island Center Forest on Vashon Island.
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Born and raised in Missouri and based in the Pacific Northwest since 1986, Bruch makes sculpture, works on paper, and public art. He initially became known in the 1980s for his series of shopping carts addressing American consumer culture and economic disparity, themes he has continued to explore with a more formal aesthetic. Bruch’s work has been honored with numerous awards and exhibited widely in Washington, Oregon, California, Germany, and elsewhere. His 4Culture commissions also include Mt. Si Bridge, Mantle, and South Branch, North Fork, and Puddles, a trio of sculptures at the Brightwater Education and Community Center.