South Jackson Street Under I-5 Community Art Wall Project

The South Jackson Street Wall Project will develop a community-based, meaningful, aesthetically imaginative, high- quality public art mural that spans 8th Ave and 10th Ave S. along S. Jackson Street, underneath the I-5 freeway.

Project Description:

InterIm Community Development Association and the I-5 Art Wall Steering Committee invite artists to submit qualifications to help the Chinatown-International District develop an integrated conceptual art plan on the retaining wall along the north side of S. Jackson Street underneath the I-5 Freeway. The art piece will be installed on a concrete retaining wall divided into 42 “panels” with steel beams. We will want the selected applicant to work with residents, youth, community members, and the artist selection committee to develop a community-based theme that will be utilized to create the public art piece. The artist will also develop the process in which we will select up to five other artists to work on this project. This project can potentially extend and connect to a larger project as part of the activation and beautification of the I-5 underpass at Jackson St and 8th/10th Avenue South.


Project Background:

Creating artwork on the South Jackson Street wall was part of the recommendations that came from a conceptual plan for the area underneath the I-5 freeway completed in 2021. The Friends of I-5 Freeway decided to move forward with this project after discussing this in late 2021.


Eligibility & Selection Criteria:

We are seeking a person or team who meets the following qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience with public
  • Aesthetic excellence in the design and execution of completed
  • Ability to design, fabricate, install and/or oversee the fabrication and installation of commissioned work.
  • Consider the physical constraints of the site, installation permitting requirements, and resistance to vandalism.
  • Ability to apply a racial justice lens and an understanding of the cultural and historical context of the Chinatown-International District (Japantown and Little Saigon) to the process and final product.
  • Engage the community at least in the conceptual phase of the
  • Ability to organize and work with other artists
  • Ability to work with an existing steering committee comprised of community

Project Budget:

The selected applicant(s) will receive $5,000 to work with the community on developing a community-based art theme, working with community stakeholders, developing an artist selection process, and working with the other selected artists in creating the design and installing our South Jackson Street art project. The selected artist will have a $10,000 budget for the other artists involved in the project and an additional $7,000 for material expenditures.


Project Timeline:

Phase 1 – Artist Search

August 5: Deadline for submission of artist qualifications

August 12: Steering Committee selects 2-3 finalists

August 17-19: Finalists present concepts/fabrication models/panels to Steering Committee for review

August 21: Final artist selected via evaluation rubric; artists notified with the committee and public feedback

Phase 2 – Design Development: September

Phase 3 – Implementation: October – December

Phase 4 – Unveiling/Opening Celebration: January 2023


Historical context:

The I-5 freeway is part of a larger American story – surbanization, the cold war, the lobbying powers of the automobile, concrete, and rubber industries, the destruction of inner-city transportation systems, and urban renewal. Throughout that history, freeways were designed to link urban centers throughout the US; however, communities of color mainly shouldered the brunt of these capital projects, as these projects often created, for the most part, unintended negative impacts on these communities.

The creation of the I-5 freeway cleaved the International District in half, displacing 100’s housing units. The highway also created, what many would consider, an ugly concrete barrier between the eastern and western parts of the neighborhood. In addition, the emissions produced by automobiles have created poor air quality for the community, leading to many health maladies for the community’s residents. In comparison, when the I-90 freeway was built, the State and Federal governments mitigated the project by making a tunnel and park for the Mercer Island residents.

In 1997, the International District utilized public stadium mitigation funds to design and paint the I-5 freeway columns. The community used input from the nascent Little Saigon community to alternate the painting from red to a combination of yellow and red. The project developed from the need to improve the pedestrian circulation between Chinatown/Japantown in the ID and Little Saigon. In addition, the project served as a gateway between the two communities.

The Friends of I-5 has been created to improve the areas underneath the I-5 freeway. We are planning to repaint the Jackson Street columns this year. In addition, we have developed this Request For Qualifications soliciting proposals to create a mural on the Jackson Street retaining wall.


How to Apply:

This is a request for qualifications. No specific proposals for artwork will be accepted at this time. Applications must include all of the following for consideration:

  • Artist’s statement of interest, considering the cultural and historical context of the site (1 page)
  • Resume(s) of artist(s)
  • Three professional references
  • Submit digital materials as a pdf attachment via email or provide a link to the website or portfolio
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope for return of materials (if sending physical materials)
  • 5 to 10 images with a max size of 2MB 72dpi. Up to 2 of 10 work samples may be video work, edited to 2:00 max, in Quicktime format or available on YouTube or Please label your images by name and number in the following format: LastName_01, LastName_02, etc.


Email Qualifications to:

Subject: South Jackson Street/I-5 Art Wall Application Mail Qualifications to:

InterIm CDA c/o Thomas Im

P.O. Box 3363

Seattle, WA 98114


Deadline: August 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm