Client: Washington State Arts Commission, Wing Luke Elementary School
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $123,000
Creative project management and partnerships with fabricators, engineers, installers, and consultants in all fields.
Public Art Services
Full structural engineering services for public artists including sealed engineering drawings, structural calculations, and fabrication drawings.
Centipenty, an iconic destination in front of the Wing Luke Elementary School, is a teeter-tottering spring rider that bounces, sways, pivots, and makes gong sounds. The concept’s genesis was the once prevalent seesaw and popular Chinese children’s playground games that start with children lining up in a row. Though colossal, it’s explicitly designed for elementary school-age children. The 24 seats, in 3 sizes, derive their dimensions from the Wing Luke classroom chairs for kindergartners through 5th graders, who activate the movement and sound with their exuberant participation.
Centipenty is a participatory, interactive iconic artwork in front of the Wing Luke Elementary school (and in proximity to the school bus loading zone) that is a place for the school and the local community to gather and meet.
Geller’s process always begins with stakeholder and community engagement which could include learning about the area's history, gaining insight into the community’s vision for the site, and brainstorming about what would enrich and bring together their diverse community.
John Grant (Public Art Services) provided design development and fabrication services for the structure and installation. Nick Geurts (Yetiweurks) provided design and structural engineering services.
In his public art practice, Matthew Geller’s participatory sculptures become one of the building blocks that make a space a destination. As such, the work activates the site and promotes interaction among visitors, often creating intimate moments in a singularly public space. Part of his work’s success is that it is physically experiential: viewers understand that there is a place for themselves in it. His sculptures enable moments of respite and delight, befitting the site's functional and visual context. He purposefully uses materials from the everyday environment creating a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe and beguilement. The idea is to surprise while fostering the sense of an inclusive community around an unlikely object or location, creating a micro public square or landmark. By considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and changes in the weather, the resulting work is in constant flux. Ultimately, the artwork’s goal will be to engender a sense of wonder, enhancing the community and visitor experience.