Steve Brown, Joe Gobin, and Andy Wilbur-Peterson
Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
Coast Salish figures pay homage to Indigenous culture at the water’s edge.
Along the shore of the Puget Sound at Richmond Beach Saltwater Park in Shoreline, WA, a 10-foot tall cast bronze sculpture welcomes visitors. Created by Steve Brown, in collaboration with Joe Gobin and Andy Wilbur-Peterson, Welcoming Figure was designed in the Coast Salish style, honoring the region’s First Peoples.The sculpture—originally carved out of red cedar, which the Salish peoples consider the “Great Life Giver”— depicts a woman holding a large steering paddle and a man wearing a Salish-style canoe as a headdress above his woven cedar bark hat. For thousands of years, Richmond Beach was a campsite for the Indigenous communities who traveled in dugout canoes to harvest clams and shellfish. A Tribal Advisory Committee selected the beach as the site for the sculpture to celebrate the importance of waterways and canoeing in Salish culture.