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E-lective Explores Local Art in Public Places

Middle School history teachers Kelly Wall and Ben Wheeler found a hyper-local artist to partner with in this year's Art in Public Places E-lective—Eighth Grade student Alec ’22. The group took a field trip to Alec's solo show inside the Mount Baker Windemere office, where Alec's street-art inspired paintings are on view. He talked the group through his process, materials, and incredible prolificness. Alec has been experimenting with materials and tone; his work ranges from a geometric shapes made from masking tape and house paint in tones of grey to richly layered spray-paint canvases with his tag, "Spike", repeated in many colors. The numerous paintings, many of which have been sold, were all created in the past year.
Alec told the group about his experience creating a large piece on a "free wall" in Judkins Park, where street artists are encouraged to paint over the walls within a bike polo court. After jumping back into the van and making a brief pit stop at the "Rainbow Valley" mural on Rainier Ave, students visited the free wall in Judkins Park in person. Alec's piece had since been painted over by another artist, because as he said, it was painted "a long time ago." However, if you visit his show at the Windemere, you can check out a video of Alec making the piece in Judkins Park, shot by his dad.

Other sites that this immersive E-lective has visited include the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee, in an inquiry into memorials and how those public objects differ from a tag or a mural. They also visited a confederate monument in Seattle, and discussed the arguments locally and across the country on whether to keep or take down such momuments. 

The group has visited murals and sculptures around the city, discussed sanctioned versus unsanctioned public art, and spent some time with Jimi Hendrix, via his statue. Back in the classroom, students are developing their own tags, which will be displayed in the Seventh Grade hallway.