George Tsutakawa Fountain Temporarily Removed From New Library Due To Damage Concerns
Thursday (July 2nd), we received the following email from a BTB Reader named Jessica, inquiring about the 1972 George Tsutakawa fountain at the new library, which has been recently removed:
Yesterday I visited the beautiful new Burien library and noticed the fountain in front was missing. I know it made it in the move as I had previously saw it at the new location.
When I asked one of the librarians what had happened to the sculpture she said it is currently in storage but was unsure as to why.
With the community so boisterous about one particular bronze sculpture I can’t imagine why they are not up in arms to protect the lovely G rated George Tsutakawa Fountain.
Is there not enough room in Burien for more than one sculpture?
Or perhaps someone complained about the environmental impact of the base of the sculpture being too small and thus causing a small amount of water to be wasted.
I thought if anyone could get to the bottom of this it would be the B-Town Blog.
So we contacted our “Empress Of Information,” Marilee Cogswell, Manager of the Burien branch, who said:
Yes, it has been removed temporarily â€“ we are looking at alternative sites for it as it was getting a bit too much attention (trash, coins, and climbing) in that space.
It was decided to pull it out and store it before any real damage happened.
We are looking at a couple of alternatives..one inside the building and one outside.
I donâ€™t have a timeline, but will keep you posted.
The original installation of this fountain was in an inner courtyard of the old library, which was protected from human interaction.
The new location was not, hence the concerns and subsequent removal.
When we took the photos early Thursday evening three young boys were playing around in the fountain’s base, empty of everything but rocks.
“I think they moved it ‘cuz kids were playing on it,” said one young man who was literally inside the base when asked what happened. Moments later, he found a coin from under some rocks.
Here’s some info on Tsutakawa from the website Art Market Online:
George Tsutakawa dedicated his life to art and the freedom of expression that it granted him. Tsutakawa worked in a number of media, including paint, bronze, and clay. Born in Seattle in 1910, Tsutakawa went to live with his maternal grandmother in Japan from 1917 to 1927. Upon Tsutakawa’s return to Seattle, he began to study art and help with the family import/export business. His time spent in Japan as a child â€“ especially the traditional tea ceremonies performed by his uncle â€“ inform his work, as did the beauty of the Pacific Northwest region and the art of the Northwest Masters. Tsutakawa attended the University of Washington, and received his MFA in 1950.
In 1960 the City of Seattle commissioned George Tsutakawa to create Fountain of Wisdom, for the Seattle Library; this project was the first art commission by the city of Seattle since 1908. Between 1960 and 1990, the artist designed and created over 60 fountains throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan. He exhibited extensively throughout Japan, the United States and Canada beginning in the 1950â€™s. Tsutakawa was awarded many honors throughout his career including the Order of Rising Sun Award, fourth class, from the Emperor of Japan.
In 1972, “Rain Fountain No.2,” made of stainless steel, 6′, was installed at the (old) Burien Library on 4th Ave SW.