artist, arts administrator

Kristen Ramirez

From the moment you set foot in Seattle, you can feel it: art is everywhere.

The thriving arts scene is a priority in this city—in fact, Seattle has been recognized for having more arts-related businesses and organizations per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Americans for the Arts. artist and arts administrator Kristen Ramirez is one of the contributors to this creative city. Read on for a look at the city through her artistic lens.

Q&A with Kristen Ramirez

How did you get interested in murals?

I came of age in the Mission District of San Francisco, which is known for its vibrant cultural murals. In addition, I’m a Mexico-phile (of Mexican and Irish heritage) and the mural tradition is really strong in Mexico as a way to teach history. The first mural I painted was through Urban Artworks, a Seattle nonprofit that gets murals on walls, signal boxes, underpasses—quietly championing the revolution.

What are some of your favorite Seattle murals?

We’re spoiled—there’s a robust mural culture here. The historic mural at Colman Pool in Lincoln Park is a good example of traditional style (Also: is there a more beautiful public pool in the world?). I love the heron mural in the parking lot at 20th and Jackson, the girl planting ginger root on Beacon Hill, and the sci-fi scene above Cinerama.

What makes public art successful?

Successful art is site specific—it should be created with an idea of who will experience it and how. The interactive sculpture “Revolution,” in Georgetown, employs cogs and gears that speak to the neighborhood’s industrial past. Noguchi’s “Black Sun sits on the horizon of the reservoir at Volunteer Park, like a stand-in planet. Pretty extraordinary!

What do you like about living in Beacon Hill?

Beacon Hill feels like a little village where you always run into people—at The Station, which is a hub for political dialogue, or El Quetzal, which has stellar Mexico City-style food. I’m raising a kid, so I go to Jefferson Park, which has amazing views, a skate park, playground, lawn bowling and the Food Forest.

What other neighborhood do you frequent?

Georgetown. There are so many little independent art galleries there. Go to the second Saturday art walk and explore Equinox Studios, Bridge, The Alice, Oxbow. And Studio E, which feels like a Chelsea gallery. I take people to Fantagraphics Bookstore and Fonda La Catrina—my favorite Mexican food, where you hear the Boeing planes right overhead and see the old Rainier Beer buildings. You really get a sense of Seattle history.

What’s your favorite tourist attraction?

I’m a sucker for the Great Wheel! It’s a precipice over the Puget Sound where you can see the Olympics and downtown—it instantly orients you in the city.


Interview by Brangien Davis. Photo taken at King Street Station. 


Check out this great little video taking you through a Seattle bike tunnel covered in Kristen Ramirez’s mural.




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