Public Art

The City of Monroe views public art as integral to the Monroe community’s fabric by improving quality of life, enhancing community identity, strengthening economic development and tourism, and enriching the spirit and pride of its citizens. To this end, the City may periodically acquire, fund or otherwise commission the creation of certain works of art for installation and display on designated areas that are owned or controlled by the City. 

View our Public Art Policy (PDF)

Guardian of the Mountain Pass

Sculptors: Milo White & Jay Bowen
Funded through 2019 City of Monroe Arts Grant.

A representation of Monroe’s beautiful mountains, rivers and forests expressing art in metal, glass, and stone using light, color, and negative space.  Rocks representing the river, mountain skylines, curves in the shape of the legendary mountain goat horns, and the trees’ shadows giving shelter to forest creatures- all create a work of art that exemplifies the surrounding environment. The pinnacle of the piece embraces the rising sun over the mountains.

Read more about the sculpture in an Everett Herald newspaper article written by Sharon Salyer.

Guardian of the Mountain Pass Sculpture Reveal Community Photo

Wagner Swifts

Sculptor: Kevin Edwin Pettelle
Funded through 2019 City of Monroe Arts Grant.

A representation of Monroe’s Wagner Center chimney, located ½ mile west of the sculpture, recognized as one of the most important Vaux’s Swift communal migratory roost sites in North America. Twice a year thousands of migrating Vaux’s Swifts roost in the chimney while on their migration route between North-Western Canada and Central-South America. Each September, the annual Swift Night Out event celebrated their arrival, culminating at dusk in a spectacular display of thousands of these small birds squeezing themselves into the chimney in a matter of minutes.

Wagner Swifts Wagner Swifts Group

Storm Patterns

Sculptor: Gloria BornsteinStorm Patterns
Funded through support from the Washington State Arts Commission in partnership with the Washington State Department of Corrections and the City of Monroe.

In July 1974, Washington’s Legislature established the Art in Public Places Program of the Washington State Arts Commission. It established a percent-for-art program that would fund the acquisition of artworks in the State Art Collection through capital construction projects. When the state builds a building, one half of 1% of construction costs is set aside for the acquisition of artwork for the State Art Collection.  

The Monroe art acquisition funding was generated from construction of the Intensive Management Unit/Segregation Building and the Staff Training Building at the Monroe Corrections Complex. $116,404 was generated for an artist to develop a proposal, provide structural engineering and permits, and fabricate and install the artwork.

The Department of Corrections selected the City of Monroe as a partner agency to work with the Washington State Arts Commission to commission an artwork for the State Art Collection to be sited on city property. The Art Selection Committee met six times between March 2006 and February 2007 to develop criteria, identify audiences and possible locations, select an artist, and accept the artwork proposal. 

The Art Selection Committee prioritized their criteria. The committee desired that the artwork would create an experience for the viewer/s where it provides an interaction where the viewer would stop and pause. They wanted the artwork to be thought provoking and cause discussion and engagement while still be recognizable. They also desired that the artwork would have high visual impact and create a sense of identity and sense of place for Monroe as a progressive hometown.

Secondary criteria included the artwork serving as a destination or a gathering place. It was also desirable for artwork to have drive by visibility and provide for a family experience.

Based on the identified sites, audiences and criteria the Arts Selection Committee selected Gloria Bornstein, a public artist from Seattle to develop a proposal. Bornstein was selected from approximately 100 portfolios in the Public Artist Roster, the list of eligible artists available for consideration. Bornstein met with the Art Selection Committee three times to tour the proposed sites, discuss the criteria, present her preliminary concept, and develop a final proposal. She visited Monroe on numerous occasions to select a site for the artwork. She was drawn to the beauty, retention pond function, and recreational programs of Lake Tye where she observed a variety of activities from walking, jogging, bicycling, bird watching and picnicking, to sports that would provide for much interaction with the artwork. She thought about how Monroe was the gateway to the Cascades and how the seasons bring so many people through Monroe. The Northwest is known for it’s beauty and outdoor recreation and our cloud cover attributes to much of this... rain to keep it green, clouds to keep it mild in the summer, snow for winter sports, and rivers and lakes for wildlife habitat, boating, hunting, and fishing. Ms. Bornstein developed Storm Patterns as a response to all these activities that nature provides for us and used Lake Tye as a backdrop to the scientific water cycle. The jewel finished on the stainless steel material reflects the clouds and light. Storm clouds are one definer for the area and Storm Patterns celebrates Mother Nature’s role.

Monroe Arts Council

The Monroe Arts Council is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization promoting the visual and performing arts in the community of Monroe. Their mission is to stimulate the growth of the visual, literary, and performing arts; to enhance our local community through art in public places; to preserve the historic legacy of Monroe. 

For more information visit their website.