Explore Public Art While You Shop
There is a treasure trove of public artworks found throughout Pike Place Market. More than two dozen murals, sculptures, functional art, and historic signs adorn the walls, sidewalks, and buildings throughout the 9-acre historic district. Here are 12 standouts.
1 Squid & Sasquatch Sculptures
Enter the Economy Atrium and behold the large Squid sculpture by Pat Wickline (2001) looming above and the carved cedar Sasquatch by Rich Beyer (1978) lurking in a nearby corner. Experts have confirmed that neither are anatomically correct.
2 Rachel The Piggy Bank
Since 1986, Georgia Gerber’s bronze piggy bank has collected change for the Pike Place Market Foundation, which in turn supports the neighborhood’s social service agencies.
3 Song Of The Earth
Look up to discover five panels that commemorate the history of Japanese-American farmers. Together, they tell the story of Japanese internment during WWII and how it affected Market farmers. Created in 1998 by artist Aki Sogabe using the Kirie papercutting technique.
4 Short Cut Lights
Function meets art on the Hillclimb leading to Western Ave. On your way downstairs search for six figures holding bulbs to light the way. By Dan Webb during a 2010 Market renovation.
5 Street Music & Market Memories
Two large back-to-back murals bring color to Hillclimb Level 4. “Street Music” by Karen De Winter (1988) and “Market Memories” by Billy King (2011) depict vibrant Market scenes.
6 Cherry Tree In Bloom
Murals greet visitors in the elevator lobbies of the Public Market Parking Garage. This mural, on the first floor elevator lobby, was painted by Paul Douglas Conrad in 1994.
7 Vintage Highstall Signage
Main Arcade produce stands, known as highstalls, feature commercial artwork from the 1950s by the Corey Sign Company. Restored by Friends of the Market in 2013.
8 Public Market Sign
Neon signage has contributed to the Market’s iconic look since the 1920s. In addition to the Public Market sign at Pike and Pine by architect Andrew Willatsen (1935), numerous business signs keep this tradition alive, especially evident in the Main Arcade.
9 Hill Climb Seats
Take a rest on these functional tractor seats on Stewart St. created by Brian Swenson (1995).
10 Self-Watering Vertical Planter
Installed in upper Post Alley on the west side of the Livingston-Baker Building, this functional piece was made by Buster Simpson in 1999.
11 Northwest Microcosm
Clare Dohna sold her mosaic art in the Craft Market for 19 years. Now, she’s created colorful clay fish, flower and fruit tiles that will be combined into three mosaics on walls leading up the grand staircase to the MarketFront Plaza.
12 Western Tapestry
Reflecting the Market’s bounty and colors of fruits, vegetables and flowers, 1,670 aluminum strips are suspended on the historic Western Avenue wall facing the MarketFront in this collaboration between John Fleming and many community members who painted black and white designs and words on the aluminum strips.
Pike Place Market has a long history of attracting and inspiring artists of all mediums and styles. It has been depicted countless times over the years, capturing its beautiful scenery, quirky spirit, lively vibe (and even the downtrodden periods), preserving moments of history through their works of art.
• Mark Tobey (1890-1976) was an internationally recognized painter and a founder of the art movement known as the Northwest School. He sketched the Market in the late 1930s and ’40s, documenting produce, storefronts, people and general scenes in oil, gouache and tempera.
• Architect Victor Steinbrueck (1911-85) led a grassroots campaign that helped save Pike Place Market from the urban renewal wrecking ball. His book, Market Sketchbook, is filled with detailed pen and ink drawings of everything from ramps and signage to shoppers and diners.
Other creatives and bohemian characters have long been a part of the fabric and texture of the Market. Beat artist Jack Kershaw in the ’60s, Billy King from the ’70s to today, and current local collector Buddy Foley are but a few of the many personalities that bring art to the neighborhood and storied interactions with Market customers.
Learn more about the artworks at the Friends of the Market online archive: FriendsOfTheMarket.net/Market-Art
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