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Helen Sommers Building Artwork

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Mural relocation

Enterprise Services is developing plans and strategy for relocating the mural by artist Jean C. Beall from the mothballed General Administration Building to the new Helen E. Sommers Building. The agency received funding in the 2018 capital budget for the project.

The mural, commissioned by the State Capitol Committee in 1956, tells the story of the state’s rich natural resources, industry and culture. It is one of only two significant works of art by a woman artist on the Capitol Campus.

To minimize damage to the mural, it must be moved in one piece along with its wall. The mural and wall weigh an estimated 28,000 pounds.

Design work and preparation for necessary asbestos abatement at the GA Building are underway.

What's next

Starting the week of April 16, the mural face is being photo documented by conservators, and carefully covered and protected. 

Once design work is complete, Enterprise Services will seek bids from qualified contractors to undertake the physical relocation of the mural to its new home. The work will involve numerous logistically challenging steps, from separating the mural and its wall from the building to creating a protective frame to minimize damage during the move, to transporting the mural and securely installing it in the ground floor level of the Helen E. Sommers building. Window walls on both buildings must be temporarily removed to get the mural into and out of them.

Mosaic mural by artist Jean C Beall

About the mural

 

Building artwork

Artwork for the Helen Sommers Building will be installed on the building's west atrium wall.

The artwork was paid for using one-half of 1 percent of building construction costs as required by state law.

The contemporary, three-dimensional piece is designed to reflect upon one of our state’s greatest natural resources – water. The artwork is divided into 10 sections, which the artist says represent 10 major watershed areas in the state.

Beliz Brother is a decorated artist whose work has been exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, San Francisco's New Langton Arts and the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. Other state-commissioned installations of her sculptures can be seen at Tacoma Community College and Everett Community College. Other permanent installations of her artwork reside at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif., and Swedish Health Services and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The artist was selected and commissioned with the help of the Washington State Arts Commission and a seven-member Art Selection Committee that included building tenants, a community member, a local artist, and the 1063 Block Replacement Project Director.