Seattle has a lot of great public art displayed in public places for everyone to enjoy for free. The best will tell you something about the roots and history of Seattle, too, and one of the best examples are the historic murals around The Junction neighborhood, the commercial center of West Seattle. I learned of them on an art walk arranged by Atlas Obscura and was puzzled to find myself the only Seattleite from a neighborhood outside of West Seattle that had signed up for this tour! Secret to even longtime Seattleites, it’s time for the murals to gain a broader audience.
The murals are found in the area around The Junction and depict glimpses of long-gone local history, modelling actual vintage photos supplied by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. A little plaque beside each mural tells the story of the particular motive and its artist. The 11 murals came to life as a project led by longtime local business leader Earl Cruzen in 1989-1993, who drummed up the funds and recruited world-class muralists to bring the project to fruition.
Dating back more than a quarter of a century and exposed to the whims of Pacific Northwestern weather (= rain!), some of the murals are clearly marked by the passage of time. But a major restoration project is taking care of that, and many of the murals are now back to former glory for all to enjoy.