Restoration of Brightwater Artwork in 2022

Andrea Wilbur-Sigo. Grandfather’s Wisdom, 2012/2022. Carved and painted cedar. Brightwater, Woodinville, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: King County Wastewater Treatment Division.

Continuing her work to restore Grandfather’s Wisdom, the large-scale sculptural installation at Brightwater Treatment Plant near Woodinville, artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo recently welcomed the Longhouse back to her studio. In 2020 the artist recreated the project’s paddles in red cedar. Now focusing her attention on the surface and longevity of the longhouse, Wilbur-Sigo will be both re-carving and re-painting as needed. The new longhouse is expected to return to the site in late 2022.

The carved motifs of Grandfather’s Wisdom feature Killer Whale, Octopus, and Thunderbird—creatures of universal importance among Coast Salish tribes. “My artwork represents in a modern view what a longhouse would look like standing in a place that it’s highly likely one might have been,” says Andrea, a member of the Squaxin Island Tribe and the first woman carver in her tribe and family.

Andrea Wilbur-Sigo. Grandfather’s Wisdom (deinstall with ArtSite Ltd.), 2012/2022. Carved and painted cedar. Brightwater, Woodinville, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: 4Culture

As stewards of the King County Public Art Collection, 4Culture cares for nearly 2,500 artworks in 150 locations across the county. This includes contracting with specialized conservators, technicians, and as in the case of Grandfather’s Wisdom, the original artist, to clean, restore, and revitalize these important cultural assets. King County provides stewardship funding for the collection, which supports ongoing maintenance of permanently-sited artworks, repairs, framing, photographic documentation, and other conservation services as needed.

Through the work we do with our King County partners, community stakeholders, and artists, we help nurture a cultural legacy in our region. This ongoing care and investment in the public art collection celebrates the people who live, work, and play here, ensuring these artworks will be part of our communities for many years to come.