From the Northwest African American Museum to the annual Jazz Walk, the Central Area is a hub of the visual and performing arts. This neighborhood characteristic was a driving element in the design process of the Jackson Apartments. To reflect the Central Area’s long legacy and present-day role as a creative epicenter, the team at Vulcan Real Estate (VRE) set out to work with a range of artists to source a collection of artworks that will be placed throughout the interior of the project for apartment residents to enjoy.  

For example, Vulcan partnered with curator and designer Erika Dalya Massaquoi to procure a series of African fabrics, pictured above. Massaquoi is the founder of Seattle-based retailer The Oula Company and sources textiles from global markets. For the Jackson Apartments, she chose artworks that reflect the Central Area’s role as an epicenter of African American culture, including prints from West Africa, East Africa, India and Europe. 

“The eclectic visual narrative I created for this project is evocative of the diversity of prints found in marketplace storefronts and presents multi-layered patterns, textures, colors and iconography,” explains Massaquoi. “Living with the pieces is meant to be experiential and the goal is to create a memorable, theatrical impact that engages residents emotionally.” 

The artwork in the Jackson Apartments will also include a large quilt by Loretta Bennett, an artist based in Gees Bend, Alabama. Famous for generations of textile artists that have developed a signature geometric style, quilts from this small town located along the Alabama River have been featured on U.S. postal stamps and exhibited in museums, including the Whitney in New York. Now, the work also pictured above will be permanently displayed in the gallery space at Jackson Apartments. 

Providing a look into the rich history of the Central Area, the project will also feature a series of photos by Seattle photographer Al Smith. Best known for his images capturing Seattle’s lively Jazz scene, Al Smith chronicled the neighborhood’s African American community. From Duke Ellington’s performance at Civic Auditorium to the transformation of Seattle’s skyline, Smith’s work includes many iconic images of the Emerald City. Many of Smith’s works have been preserved by the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and VRE worked with the museum to source photos for this project. 

In addition to these interior artworks, Vulcan Real Estate is planning a collection of public art that will be located in outdoor gathering spaces. Stay tuned for announcements on the upcoming installation of these pieces! And to learn more about Jackson Apartments, visit Jacksonseattle.com
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