TOMORROW: When jewelry becomes super "Sempervivum"

By Kristin Kendle on November 9, 2012


Get ready, Tacoma - there's some new public artwork coming atcha!

The piece, Sempervivum (Latin for ever living), blooms at Metro Parks' STAR Center. The afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 10, it will be officially dedicated at a free public event. Come meet artist Lisa Kinoshita and learn more about the artwork and how it offers tribute to the natural wetlands surrounding it.

Both the STAR Center and the grounds are unique. The grounds are a former swamp, but ironically where the sculptures went in was a mix of hard clay and rock that required jackhammers to break through. STAR Center is a facility that brings together three entities - soon-to-be LEED-certified STAR Center, Boys & Girls Club, and Gray Middle School - that share their facilities for activities in the community.

"Two things really attracted me about it," says Kinoshita, "the little-known history of ‘the South Tacoma Swamp' and the changing identity of the area, exemplified in some ways by the STAR Center. There is a rich historical legacy built on transportation in this neighborhood, but it doesn't have immediacy for younger people."

She hopes that her project's integration of the area's natural history and green design will help change that.

The sculpture features three large metal pieces with plants all around them. The metal sculptures imitate a plant called a sedum, which Kinoshita chose for their extreme hardiness.

Kinoshita previously mostly worked in jewelry. She came to the project via the PA:ID program - a program that educates artists on the world of public art - and says that moving from jewelry design to outdoor sculpture was a surprisingly natural leap.

"Much of my jewelry is architecturally inspired, and the Sempervivum sculptures echo some of my favorite jewelry forms - they are very structural and echo the natural symmetries found in nature," says Kinoshita. "I worked closely with my metal fabricator, Quinn Honan, who is an amazing artist and truly has a gift for bringing two-dimensional drawings to life."

STAR CENTER, SATURDAY, NOV. 10, 2 P.M., 3873 SOUTH 66TH ST., TACOMA, 253.404.3939