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Fred Owyen, a contractor who often works for the Lakewood School District, left, and artist Christopher Weed install a 2,000 pound art piece at Lakewood High School on Nov. 23.

 

Lakewood High School is the recipient of one of the latest public arts pieces from the Washington Arts Commission which was installed on Nov. 23.

The piece, titled ‘Passage,’ is a representation of an open door.

The stainless steel sculpture is 18 feet tall and weighs about 2,000 pounds.

Transitions of beginning or leaving school are often a time “where one door opens, one door closes,” said artist Christopher Weed, who created the piece.

“The symbolism of this is really powerful, with opening a door to the future,” said Lakewood School District superintendent Scott Peacock. “The stylized nature of the door is very eye-catching."

A window panel at the top of the door is meant to shine when the sun is out as well.

“It’s going to illuminate when the sun goes through the acrylic window,” said Weed.

The Washington Arts Commission receives 0.5 percent of the state’s construction budget and is tasked with putting public art into the wide variety of communities in Washington.

Weed has put pieces in colleges before, but this is the first time his work has been in a high school.

“It defines our public spaces, and with a piece like this I think it’s good to get kids exposed to public art and what better avenue than the high schools and the schools,” he said.

Sculptures and public art can help give a sense of identity to a place.

“Our society is becoming ever-more homogenized so art is really what defines our public spaces,” said Weed.

Bringing big art pieces into Lakewood High School helps provide kids with some direct experience with art as well.

“I think it’s critical for kids to have various kinds of cultural experiences and to have an artistic attraction here that was designed for them is important,” said Peacock.

The process to bring the sculpture to Lakewood took about two years, with some delays being caused by the COVID pandemic.

“Some of these projects go on the fast track, but this was not one of them,” said Weed.

Peacock said it was project that took “thousands of emails.”

“It’s been a real team effort between the Washington State Arts Commissions, who really provided the resources and funding for this project and the coordination, and then with the artist and the county to get it permitted,” he said.

A community committee that included students helped guide the project and eventually approve it.

“I’m grateful for all the people who were involved in the project and made this vision come to reality,” said Peacock.

“The school district has been great in helping to facilitate this,” said Weed.

 

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