Columbia River Watershed

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Client: Columbia Waterfront, LLC

Location: Vancouver, WA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $3,500,000

Project Team

Artist

Larry Kirkland

Project Management

John Grant

Public Art Services

Overview

The redevelopment of Vancouver’s Waterfront Park is a design solution that unites the waterfront with the surrounding community for the first time in 100 years. Artist Larry Kirkland was commissioned to create 2 works of public art as part of the redevelopment project: The Grant Street Pier completed in 2018 and the Columbia River Watershed completed in 2019. The Columbia River Watershed is an interactive water feature that is a place to play, learn, and contemplate the Columbia River, it’s tributaries and the vast land area that makes up its watershed. The Headwaters serves as the starting point where water flows over the etched granite surface depicting the Columbia watershed into the pool symbolizing its many tributaries. This 12’ (H) x 16’ (W) stone and bronze monolith is oriented north/south to the adjacent Columbia River. On the other side of the Headwaters is a bronze casting of a topographic map which displays the source of the Columbia at Lake Columbia in British Columbia and is mounted to a Coast Green Granite slab from Brazil. Encompassing the bronze casting is an essay written by award winning author Teresa Jordan who Kirkland partnered with to capture the importance of the Columbia River both to its natural environment and the people who have been sustained by it.

Goals

The 7-acre Waterfront Park reconnects the surrounding community with the Columbia River by extending the Waterfront Renaissance Trail through the park, giving urban riverfront access to residents for the first time in over 100 years. Kirkland's design for the Columbia River Watershed builds on this theme, creating a place for the community to come together and learn about the Columbia River, it's tributaries and the expansive land that make up its watershed. The interactive nature of the work creates a community space for recreation, education and inspiration. The integration of lighting design allows for the park to be enjoyed in the evening as well as during the day.

Process

Public Art Services was invited by artist Larry Kirkland along with other creative professionals to work as a collaborative partner in the design, engineering, and construction oversight of the water feature. Collaborative partners include: Walla Walla Foundry in Walla Walla Washington, SGF Scultura of Torano, Granite Graphics, essay by Teresa Jordan, and digital renderings by Michael Mowry.