Seattle artist John Fleming recommended for Redmond Central Connector

The City of Redmond's parks and trails and arts commissions are recommending Seattle artist John Fleming to City Council as the artist for the Redmond Central Connector (RCC), a linear park scheduled to begin construction next year.

Arts administrator Joshua Heim said the Council is scheduled to take action at its Dec. 6 meeting.

"Unless there's a hang up there, then John is our guy," Heim said.

The call for artists came in mid September with the application deadline on Oct. 11. A selection panel looked at the 30 or so applications that came from all over the country. Heim said artist applications came from the Pacific Northwest but also from areas as far reaching as Colorado and New York and they even received inquiries from Canada. He said there were many well-known artists in the applicant pool.

The selection panel narrowed the pool down to three finalists, who came to Redmond in the last week of October for a site visit, workshop with city staff and interview, Heim said.

Despite the stiff competition, Heim said the selection panel reached an overwhelming consensus to recommend Fleming.

In addition to being an artist, Fleming, who crated Grass Blades near the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center, is a trained architect. Heim said this was part of Fleming's appeal for the panel because he would have a better understanding when working with the design team.

Another quality that attracted them was that Fleming reuses materials in his work, but also has a sense of quality and sophistication, Heim said. He added that with the RCC artwork, Fleming may use the downtown railroad rails or other materials that have been gathered and salvaged from the construction site.

Heim said selecting a local artist from the Pacific Northwest has its merits because they are familiar with the area, but there is value in bringing in a pair of fresh eyes that can reinterpret things.

"It came up (when we selected Fleming), but it wasn't a deciding factor," Heim said.

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