MARYSVILLE – Marysville-Pilchuck High School officials unveiled a new sculpture titled “HopeGate” on campus Friday that reminds students that while they may just be passing through for a few years, the future of their choice awaits.
Artist Roger Feldman, professor emeritus at Seattle Pacific University, said his design was inspired by the symmetry in artifacts of the Salish Sea people and their 12,000-year history that includes the Tulalip Tribes, and “the notion that you can move through, and move on. Lean into the future.”
The school district was awarded $60,000 from the state for the project. A committee reviewed 60 artist portfolios and selected Feldman. The group was drawn to the interactive and experiential nature of his work, including the colors and textures of his sculptural installations.
At an unveiling ceremony that drew about 40 district and school personnel, Feldman said researching artifacts at Tulalip’s Hibulb Museum, Burke Museum in Seattle and other First Nation collection, he saw a consistent pattern that used equal shapes placed side by side to create balance.
HopeGate takes two walls leaning together and connecting at the top to make one piece. They share an identical base, but one side is geometric and the other organic and curved at the top, but both lean forward to create a symmetrical passageway in the shape of a triangle.
The intent of the forms joining together alludes to the educational process, where moving through the passageway signifies the completion of the high school journey. This triangle is pointing due West, as is a directional arrow inlaid in the concrete. In 19th and 20th Century American literature and public consciousness, the West has consistently represented the unknown, the frontier, opportunity and hope.
The piece made entirely of aluminum measures 13 feet 9 inches tall.
Additionally, the salmon color ties into the fact that indigenous people have been able to survive because of salmon and other sea creatures. The use of using sweeping, curved, modern-looking hard edge shapes are reminiscent of bird feathers and orca fins, Feldman said.
He thanked James Wright with Smokey Point Concrete; Josh Baker and Baker & Sons Concrete Construction LLC; Nick Chase with We Do Dirt; Brandon Klepper and Marysville School District Facilities for their labor and materials.