Spiral of Hope

The Making of Spiral

In partnership with the Seattle Parks & Recreation and Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness (supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Urban Art Concept constructed a large-scale spiral sculpture in the center of Lake Union Park in order to raise awareness and give hope to the homeless population of Seattle.  The project hopes to generate a dialogue, to create awareness, and to measure the wellbeing of our society; in general, it explores what it means when we don’t have a place called “home.” Approximately 12,500 families and children in Washington State are homeless. With this sculpture, UAC aims to change the perspective in which urban homelessness is viewed, discussed, and treated.

The shape of the spiral is used because it is predominantly connoted as a negative image in our society (i.e. "spiraling out of control"); however, we wanted to flip that image and transform it into a kind of spiral of hope. Hundreds of volunteers helped construct the structure over a period of 6 weeks. Fallen sticks and debris from the East Duwamish Green Belt were collected and tied together with zip-ties and twine, so that it could eventually be self-supporting. The 300-foot long structure measured 12 feet high, winding upward towards the sky rather than spiraling down. Visitors can walk, run, and dance their way to the center, where one of the park’s native trees is located.

The Effects

With the Spiral Project, the goal wasn’t exclusively to create an impactful temporary artwork; the nature of the project and its process stimulated conversations with individuals and families walking through the park. While creating the sculpture, personal connections were made with the community daily that had lasting effects on both the artwork and the meaning behind it, both in Lake Union Park and in the Greater Seattle area. Fortunately, several media outlets and writers--KIRO, KOMO, and award-winning writer Rosette Royale among them--covered the story and spread the significance of its purpose.

Bryan Ohno described the intended long-term effects of Spiral in a piece on Impatient Optimists, the blog belonging to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:


“A great project creating community awareness about homelessness in a beautiful and interactive way.”

                                                     Habitat for Humanity

We want people to see the power of art and then take action.  Our partnerships with homelessness advocacy organizations like the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, Firesteel, and Building Changes are helping those drawn to the Spiral Project turn their aesthetic experience into something more tangible—the sense that they can become part of a larger movement to end family homelessness.

                                                                           Bryan Ohno

Want to know more?

Read the Press Release from the event!

Summer 2012