Spiral of Hope

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On March 2nd, I blogged about a compelling photo exhibit that was here at City Hall of images documenting family homelessness called Looking Into the Light. This national touring exhibit organized by the National Center on Family Homelessness is now travelling throughout the country for two years. It was hosted here by the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness.

One of the speakers at the opening reception was Bryan Ohno. He described a unique art project he was planning, one that addresses homelessness through interactions with an outdoor sculpture. At the time, he was seeking volunteers to help construct the artwork. The spiral is up, now, and on display in the park.

Ohno’s Spiral of Hope is part of the Finding Homes series sponsored by Urban Art Concept. Urban Art Concepts has partnered with Seattle Parks & Recreation and Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness to work with local artists to engage people in ways that strengthen community. Finding Homes sheds light on the meaning of home and how it feels not to have one.

Spiral of Hope stands 12 feet tall and consists of hundreds of fallen tree branches wrapped in a spiral at the south end of South Lake Union Park. Each branch is tied to the next creating the shape of a rising spiral, which people can wander through like a labyrinth.

Photo Courtesy Urban Art Concept

Symbolically, it’s meant to imply that people can rise upward out of homelessness. Literally, it brings people together to work toward a common tangible purpose, providing inspiration for people down on their luck.

Some debate the value of the arts in addressing social issues. One argument states the arts are purely esthetic and should be enjoyed for nothing more than their intrinsic value. Another argument claims the power of art to bring people together should be used intentionally in whatever way it can to further the social good. I think both arguments are valid and Ohno’s work is a good example of the latter claim. I recommend you check it out.

The Spiral of Hope will be on display in South Lake Union Park through June 17th.

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