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Water Carry

Claudia Fitch

Interurban Pump Station

A pump station staircase weaves a story with patterns and poetry.

Claudia Fitch. Water Carry (detail), 1997. Pavers, tile, and painted steel. Interurban Pump Station, Tukwila, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com

Claudia Fitch’s Water Carry is a tableau of sculpture and poetry—and one of the first public artworks to transform a King County infrastructure site.

Integrated on a staircase leading into Tukwila’s Interurban Pump Station, the work tells a story about the history of the nearby Duwamish River. A tile pattern cascades down the steps like water, broken up by a trio of sculptural elements that resemble baskets and function as seating for anyone passing by on the Interurban Trail; a suitcase, a map, and a totemic figure appear alongside the baskets. Sections of the stairs are sandblasted with text written by Fitch in collaboration with poet Judith Roach, which describes the location’s past and its enduring connection to water. It reads, in part:

The Grandmother
Shook her baskets
Of rain and made the ice go away
So the people
Could come and
Live here.
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Claudia Fitch. Water Carry, 1997. Pavers, tile, and painted steel. Interurban Pump Station, Tukwila, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com
Claudia Fitch. Water Carry (detail), 1997. Pavers, tile, and painted steel. Interurban Pump Station, Tukwila, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com
Claudia Fitch. Water Carry (detail), 1997. Pavers, tile, and painted steel. Interurban Pump Station, Tukwila, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com