Notice: Construction is ongoing in Riverfront Park and may impact some bicycle and pedestrian routes. Before you visit, please see the latest construction map for the best routes around redevelopment zones. Some attractions are currently unavailable due to redevelopment.
The Riverfront Park redevelopment bond allocated $500,000 for a signature piece and an art plan for the park. The budget for art represents 1% of the total bond, a public art allocation that is required by the state for similar projects.
In September 2016, artist, architect, and urban planner Meejin Yoon was selected to be lead artist for the Riverfront Park Redevelopment Project after being recommended by the Joint Arts Committee made up of Spokane Arts commissioners and Park Board volunteers.
An open call for artists' proposals found many talented local and national artists. A joint committee of Spokane Arts commissioners and Park Board members unanimously selected Meejin Yoon for her work based on her qualifications and commitment to engaging and reflecting the community in her work. She is tasked with creating and producing a signature art piece for the park, and creating an art plan that both catalogues all current art in the park and recommends locations for new art work.
J. Meejin Yoon, AIA, FAAR brings a wealth of experience in public projects to her role as lead artist. She is a Korean-American artist, designer, architect, and founder of MY Studio and Höweler + Yoon Architecture, LLP. She is the recipient of the United States Artist Award in Architecture/Design, the Athena RISD/Target Emerging Designer Award, the Rome Prize in Design, the Young Architects Award from the Architectural League, and a Fulbright Scholar. Yoon's academic and professional work has been widely recognized for its innovative and interdisciplinary nature. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Institut Valencia d'Art Modern, and the National Art Center in Tokyo, Japan.
In April 2018, The Park Board approved the recommendation of the Joint Arts Committee for Meejin Yoon's proposed signature art piece "Stepwell". Inspired by environmental themes of Expo '74, this interactive piece measures approximately 35' x 23'. (For comparison, it's larger than the Red Wagon in the park.) Construction of the piece is slated for early 2020 with expected completion by mid-summer.
Originating as a rectangular bowl, the form splits along a diagonal in plan, producing two opposing halves which skew apart to form apertures on either side. As visitors approach the sculpture, they will discover these apertures allow passage into the bowl's interior spaces, a pair of amphitheater-like stepped slopes facing in toward one another. The stepped seating within each amphitheater registers the curved contours of the sculpture's outer form, with additional blending and tapering to provide side walls, railings, and a secure path upward.
As visitors traverse the steps, the experience of the sculpture's interior evolves. For those sitting low within the bowl, sloped side walls will screen out views of the surrounding landscape, instead framing the open sky above. Peering across the bowl, visitors may find themselves engaged in mutual spectatorship with revelers lounging on the opposing slope. As they climb, however, visitors will reconnect with the landscape again, this time from an elevated vantage. Gazing out from the uppermost platforms, visitors will encounter sweeping views over the Spokane River to the northwest, and the Howard Street Promenade and Pavilion to the southeast.
Completed by Meejin Yoon in 2018, the Riverfront Park Art Master Plan outlines a plan for the existing and future artwork in and around Riverfront Park. Its foundation and direction is derived from local history, context, and community.
The plan accounts for the existing uses of the park and also builds off and strengthens the current plans for its redevelopment. The plan accounts for the existing artwork and proposes locations for future artwork. The proposed locations provide a wide variety of environments around the park that should inspire an equally wide variety of artistic responses. The proposed locations will also help encourage visitors to travel deeper into and explore more areas of the park.
The Art Master Plan also proposes a new art signage strategy that will help identify, unify, and brand the existing and future artwork in and around the park.