Courtesy: Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
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Wit and Wisdom

Seattle, Washington

Stuart S. Nakamura

Various locations, NW and SE corner of Rainier Ave S & S Orcas St (pillars), Seattle, Washington, 98118
Date:  2001
Placement:  sidewalks, sidewalks, sidewalks
Artwork Type:  sculpture (visual work)
Material:  concrete, steel (alloy), paint, bronze (metal), aluminum (metal), ceramic (material)
Description:  Two pillars and two gateway markers that feature proverbs from around the world mark several intersections on Rainier Avenue, which runs through the heart of the Hillman City neighborhood in Seattle. The twelve-foot-tall steel pillars, created by Stuart Nakamura, are brightly colored and feature two of the clever maxims. These words of wisdom are illustrated by cutout animals affixed to the top of the pillars; a green polka-dotted monkey on one and a red bird in flight on the other. Inset in the sculptures' concrete bases are twenty-four bronze plaques each highlighting a proverb selected from a different world culture, underscoring the diversity of the neighborhood and inspiring contemplation and reflection from passersby. Additionally two concrete Gateway Markers, decorated with ceramic tiles designed and fabricated by local students, announce the Hillman city center.

According to Nakamura, proverbs "reflect the wit and humor of life with precise clarity and show a depth of understanding that can only come from experience. These observations can only make us richer and wiser as we ponder their meaning."

Gift to the city of Seattle facilitated by the SouthEast Effective Development (SEED). Funding was provided by the city of Seattle Early Implementation Funds, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods' Matching Fund, Seattle Foundation

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