Bay Terrace is a community housing development located in Tacoma, WA. The Tacoma Housing Authority commissioned Diane Hansen along with fellow artist Jennifer Weddermann to create an exterior art piece entitled "Sea Branches and Pearls."
The inspiration for this project comes from the nearby ocean shoreline. Rusted metal forms, reminiscent of undulating kelp, flow around the cement foundation to create movement and visual interest. Vibrant red sections embedded with cast glass pearls beckon community members to explore the organic sculpture. As future vegetation develops, climbing English Ivy will intertwine within the piece, marrying the undersea with the world above.
Photo credit: Terry Rishel
Diane’s inspiration for this work came from two places: the Paris ‘Love Locks’ movement and the natural affinity Tacomans have for their city. The goal was to creation an art installation as a destination—one that begs city dwellers and visitors to seek out the location and interact with it. “I wanted to create more than a sculpture,” explains Diane. “I wanted to create an experience that caused people to get off the train and explore the Dome District and Tacoma.
Enlarged steel padlock and skeleton key sculptures, painted in auto enamel, encircle the top portion of the rail support. Hansen worked with youth from Hilltop Artists to cast glass ornaments she incorporated into the locks. Hansen wrapped the columns in metal mesh to create a screen where visitors can attach their own love locks. The project required full ADA accessibility. Diane chose to seek inclusion of all audiences by not only making it accessible, but by creating a piece that inspired conversation for all types of visitors.
The installation is located near a Sound Transit stop, where most pedestrians are focused solely on reaching their destination. “Lock-On Tacoma” turns up the visual volume, inviting passersby to pause in their busy days, examine the locks left there by others, and add their own love locks, thus expanding the piece in the most personal of ways.
Part of Sound Transit Start permanent art collection, this interactive sculpture invites public participation by encouraging visitors to attach memento padlocks on metal mesh-wrapped concrete columns.
Detail of heart lock and 253 key. Cast Aluminum faceplates, steel frames, glass rivets, metal-flake auto enamel. Fabrication: Jennifer Weddermann. Paint: Ray Kirkoff.
This installation is located at Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, between a neonatal ward and a children’s treatment area. “It’s a space where families may be hearing good news or tragic news,” Diane describes, “so the piece needed to be both celebratory and meditative.”
The spiral-shaped steel structure intentionally follows the design of the chambered nautilus. “Every time a nautilus shell grows,” Diane explains, “it closes off the chamber behind it, then keeps growing. It seems like a fitting metaphor for the families at Mary Bridge, who are often asked to endure hard times and still keep moving forward.”
Prior to assembly, the steel used in the structure was rusted with Commencement Bay seawater, creating an experiential connection to the local region. Diane reflects, “With public art, the space dictates how the work needs to feel and what it needs to accomplish. The work often reveals itself along the way. And this piece just felt like it needed a baptism in the Puget Sound.”
The structure is filled with over two hundred hand-blown glass floats, created by Diane and Lesli Jacobs-McHugh. “I love the symbolism that comes with glass floats,” said Hansen. “Even though they are made of a seemingly fragile material, they often survive the toughest of journeys, crossing entire oceans without breaking.”
View from ceiling.
This temporary public art piece was designed to bring attention to the Prairie Line Trail project on the University of Washington Tacoma campus. The installation featured a mesh construction banner spanning a sky bridge. An image of Abraham Lincoln shows the president’s eyes looking down at the trail.
“Lincoln originally signed the charter to connect the east and west coast via railroad,” explains Diane. “The Prairie Line Trail takes that original charter and re-envisions it, turning an abandoned rail bed that was part of the transcontinental route and turning it into a walking trail.” Without showing judgment, the piece positions Lincoln as looking down at the contemporary outcome of his legacy. It leaves it up to the viewer to imagine what the president may have thought.
Day and evening photos of art placement on the exterior walkway of UW campus Tacoma, WA, intersecting the Prairie Line Trail. Project was completed during PA:ID program and was conceived by team members Diane Hansen and Ed Kroupa Jeremy Gregory. Photo includes a temporary art installation by ThoughtBarn Design Team (Lucy Begg and Robert Gay).
This piece shows Hansen’s ability to use a simple object to create a nuanced, layered conversation. The sculpture creates a permanent piece from an ephemeral object and touches a wide variety of triggers for the viewer, depending on how they may have interacted with the subject in their own lives. “It pays homage to what we like to think of as an innocent time,” explains Diane, “but on closer examination, the times may have not been so innocent.”
The concept behind this piece demanded a strict level of commitment. The work is based specifically on a 1947 product and is exquisitely detailed, even including the LSMFT mark on the bottom of the pack (“Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco). The pack is constructed of steel painted with auto enamel. The cigarettes are hand-blown glass. But even with the more rigid concept, Diane found the experience to be revelatory. “Like most pieces, this one developed while I was making it. It kind of revealed itself. I start with a concept, but each piece takes on a life of its own and surprises me along the way.“