Seattle will be left with the Stalin statue.


For more than a century, totem poles have adorned parts of Seattle.

The carvings are in city parks and on university campuses. Native American and other cultural art is prevalent office buildings, government offices and is sold in galleries across town.

But the Seattle City Council is taking a closer look at art in public spaces, like parks, to make sure it’s culturally appropriate.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, in introducing her budget Wednesday, discussed the proposal. Though, at this point, it doesn’t have any cost associated with it, the proposal includes having landmarks boards and city agencies evaluate art already in place and art being procured by the city.

The future of public art pieces could then be decided by the community.

“Asking these communities what is historical, what it cultural, what gets built, what gets saved,” said Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez in a council meeting earlier this year.

Juarez declined to comment on the proposal Wednesday.

Juarez brought up the need for this public art evaluation last summer – when her colleagues were arguing for preservation groups to save the Showbox, a downtown concert venue.

“People have been deliberate in erasing us and making us invisible,” said Juarez, who is part of the Blackfeet Nation. “The soul of this city are the people who were here.”

Inside council chambers earlier this year Juarez motioned toward the city seal, which features Chief Seattle.

“Imagine people who have been here for time and for memorial in which shows is the only thing we were here is that fake Chief Seattle thing over there,” she said.

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