Client: Kitsap Central Middle School
Location: Silverdale, WA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $81,000
Scott Constable & Ene Osteraas-Constable
Kitsap Central Middle School
ORCA fosters awareness of environmental conservation and ecology at a school sited near the waters of Puget Sound. Activating the entry to Kitsap Central Middle School, the sculpture depicts the stylized contours of an adult orca at life-size, evoking the presence of this endangered species that migrates through nearby waters. Via dialogue with the school community, WOWHAUS researched the unique ecological and cultural heritage of the region. This piece, which features woods native to this region, is entirely hand-crafted with steam-bent and carved wood, echoing Kitsap’s proud boat-building traditions as well.
Suspended as though swimming overhead, the work engages children's imaginations, creating the effect of "an encounter with nature" on a daily basis. Students have a visceral understanding of the size and scale of the largest dolphin in the world, an apex predator whose very existence is threatened. We believe understanding and awareness can be catalysts for conservation, the impetus for the social change needed to preserve our planet. As artists who create work in the public realm, we embrace opportunities to create art in schools that address these vital issues.
Through a highly site-responsive process, WOWHAUS assessed the entire school grounds for a potential site, ultimately recommending the atrium space that is central to the school and offering abundant natural light. In addition, the artwork is visible from the exterior thanks to large windows. We engaged school staff, teachers, students and community members as we developed our design concept. Close coordination with Washington State Arts Council, City inspectors, engineers, administration and installation crew ensured the successful installation of artwork during a school day. Scott Constable handcrafted the entire sculpture.