'JAZZED' by MELISSA KOCHLocated in the evergreen tree, at S Willow Street and 46th Ave S
September 2, 2016 through December 16, 2017
JAZZED, part of the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture’s 2016 Art Interruptions, is a mixed-media ephemeral installation that showcases butterfly imagery inspired by monarch butterflies, migratory insects that travel thousands of miles each year from Mexico to their summer breeding grounds in North America and the Pacific Northwest.
I am very grateful to SDOT and The Office Of Arts and Culture for funding my project JAZZED which was part of the Greenway in Rainier Valley. I was fortunate to be selected this year to create this project for Art Interruptions situated in the Rainier Valley area of Seattle. My project used imagery inspired by butterflies as a metaphor about cultural diversity, cross pollination and the beat of life. Over 400 hand fabricated and weather proofed paper butterflies painted in colorful patterns were installed in an evergreen tree, fluttered onto nearby street signs and embellished the entry to a building on the Greenway bringing an uplifting mood to the neighborhood while acting as a gentle reminder of their fragility. Jazzed celebrates the importance of the butterfly as one of the earth's pollinators and their significance as a representation of transformation, metamorphosis and joy.
Working on public art commissions can bring interesting challenges and surprises requiring flexibility and adaptability of a scheme. An initial challenge for my project was to find a suitable location for my installation which had to have clearance from the City. Although I had intended to sight my main butterfly installation in a deciduous tree enabling the installation to have sweeping vistas and long branches to flutter onto and cascade down it ended up in an evergreen tree which posed its own difficulties.
Part of my original brief was to have some of the butterflies travel around the neighborhood although this was later edited out of my project. To my happy surprise some of the elder residents from the retirement home where my smaller installation had been situated had somehow managed to climb up within arms reach of my butterflies and had removed them so they could attach them onto their walkers, while some of the other butterflies took flight during the severe rain and winds we had in November. A good reminder to be careful what we wish for.