Discover Outdoor Art on Mercer Island

August 9, 2022 | by My MI Team

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The powder-coated steel sculpture, Primavera II, by Roslyn Mazzilli, sits in the Greta Hackett Outdoor Sculpture Gallery, and depicts “Metaphors of evocative moments of natural happenings.”

Artists see beauty in everything. Andy Warhol said that he saw art in everything. But even to the untrained eye, art hides around every corner and in plain sight on Mercer Island. You’ll find stunning works in parks, on paths, and anchoring plazas. Sculptures, mosaics, murals, and more dot the city with upwards of 60 pieces of public, outdoor art, spreading color and creativity all over the island.

As described on the City of Mercer Island’s website, the city and its staff collaborate with the Mercer Island Arts Council, and members of the public “to create high-quality works that will enrich the lives of Islanders and preserve notable creative expression.” Much of the funding comes through the “One Percent for Art” money set aside from public construction projects for this purpose and through public donations.

Once you start looking for the island’s art, you’ll see it everywhere. But if you prefer to head out for the sole purpose of encountering amazing works, this guide will help you make your way from sculptures to statues and from murals to mosaics.

For a full guide to every piece of public art on the island, use the city’s map to guide you, or download the STQRY app, which you can also use to scan QR codes and read about each piece of art as you admire it.

“Growing Up,” a cast aluminum sculpture in the heart of Downtown, is by Richard Beyer, who also made Seattle’s famous “Waiting for the Interurban.”
“Counterpoint,” in the Greta Hackett Outdoor Sculpture Gallery, was created in bronze by Louise McDowell. This piece was stolen in January of 2021.
A quartet of Larry McLaughlin’s “Transparent Souls” made from concrete, glass, and metal, stand together in the Sculpture Garden.
The Asteroid Sling #3, by John Geise, is made from welded stainless steel, and meant to show a machine that might catch asteroids in space.
A view of the Transparent Souls and Asteroid Sling, along with Scheherazade, made from Persian travertine by Pasha Stinson, in the foreground at the Sculpture Garden.
A wide view of John Hoge’s “The Source,” made from soil, grass, and stone, at Luther Burbank Park.
A closeup of John Hoge’s “The Source,” made from soil, grass, and stone, at Luther Burbank Park. It is deigned to show how art can integrate with the natural landscape.
Stan sits by the entrance to the dog park at Luther Burbank Park. He was donated by Pete and Brandy Nordstrom to commemorate their engagement and is said to represent the spirit of family.
A Totem Pole at the Shorewood community on Mercer Island.
Butterfly art sculpture at Lakeridge Elementary School
Sandy Glass and Jose Orantés desgined the glass tile mosaic “Flight of the Butterflies” Mercer Island 6th-8th graders and community volunteers in 2006.
“Handsome Bollards,” by Tom Jay, made from cast aluminum with a steel chain, guards the dock at Luthar Burbank Park.
When the 50-year-old dragon in Deane’s Children’s park started to show its age, the city tracked down the artist who made it, Kenton Pies. In 2013, Pies created a bigger, better dragon steel and concrete dragon to replace the irreparably damaged old one (whose head still lurks in the nearby bushes).
“Summer in the Wetlands,” was painted on to the concrete that surrounds the tennis courts at Luthar Burbank Park by Natalie Oswald in 2014.
“Call of the Wild,” a painted wooden sculpture by Donald Riggs, watches over the playground outside the administrative building at Luther Burbank Park.
This “Mythical Bird,” made from yellow cedar, sits in Pioneer Park. Carved by Dudley Carter in 1980 (at the age of 89), it depicts Coyote, Raven, other birds, and a female figure.
“Between Two Worlds,” depicting a child reading a book while leaning against a bunny, sits outside the Mercer Island Library. Learn more about the art and artist on our post about the history of the library!
Darwin’s Dream mural, based on an original painting by Rachel Holloway, located on a retaining wall that faces the I-90 on- and off-ramps at Exit 6. Holloway’s mural design aims to reflect the “the little magical pockets of nature here on the Island.”

You can also find a little extra art by stopping by the island’s Free Little Art Gallery on the corner of SE 29th St and 74th Ave SE.