Letters of Support – Amy's Letter

April 5, 2013

Mr. Andrew Morrison,

I am saddened to learn of the possible destruction of your murals at Wilson-Pacific School. While I appreciate Seattle
Public School’s plans to build additional schools to support a growing number of students and to provide them with
safenewbuildings, I am disappointed that this particular advancement stands to be arrived at perilously. It could come at
thecost of undoing a number of your most visible and highly esteemedworks. Additionally, the destruction of the existing
school leaves me seriously concerned about the displacement of Indian Heritage students and the school’s functions such as
Pow Wows, sports tournaments and educational workshops whichhave benefited the local community for many years. Having
attended these events with family members and with my students/mentees, I know this loss will be felt widely. It is my hope
that SPS will ensure ample space in the new school to consistently host these same functions and,in that vein, that the district
will find a way to preserve your important artwork.

The murals in question have not only become a beloved feature of the Licton Springs neighborhood, but they are also a
highlight of Seattle’sNative American experience, drawing visitors from tribes across the continent who come to celebrate
their existence. Additionally, the murals are enjoyed daily by countless tourists, of all races, who view them as part of their
tour of the Emerald City. These murals have served to beautify otherwise bleak walls and, at the same time, they’ve served to
promote a sense of excitement and honorfor American Indian and other indigenous people across the Greater Seattle area,
especially young people. It would be a travesty to see them destroyed.

Your study of art at a number of the nation’s most prestigious institutions combined with decades of dedication to your craft
have earned you a placeamongst Seattle’s most relevantartists. Your contribution only stands to grow as your work continues
to etch a place in the artistic fellowshipof the city. Your murals in Boston, New York City, and across the Southwestern United
States have garnered major acclaim but your hometown pieces are exceptionallyprecious asthey speak to the cultural heart
of Seattle. Theyshowcase the rich history and significance of Native American people across the Great Northwest and beyond.
Most importantly, their prominent display demonstrates the high regard in which leaders of the area’s first peoples should be
held. Their needless destruction would exhibit acontinued disregard to which America’s indigenous population has historically
been subjected. Moreover, it would represent a staggering regression into silencing the Native American voice. It may be
difficult for the mainstream population to understand, but this is a pivotal moment in Seattle’s treatment of American Indian
culture. Just as Native American people loose irreplaceable aspects of cultural heritage with the diminishment of native
languages, so too will culture be lost with the destruction of your artwork. How SPS handles this situation will send a message
to the area’s already marginalized ethnic community. If handled wisely, it could set a positive tone for Native/non-Native
district dealings going forward.I believe this matter can arrive at a win-win situation for all involved.

With the advancements in modern architecture, structural preservation can now be easily achieved. Just as the ceiling of
theKing Street Train Station is being preserved in the face of surrounding construction, the walls containing your murals
can become a beneficialpart of the new school structure. The incorporation of your work into the new school would prove
advantageous in inspiring artistic thought among students and it could serve as a catalyst for comparative ethnic curricular
discourse, an important part of real-world education. Additionally, the incorporation of your pieces in the new school has
the capability of setting an example of successful conflict resolution and cooperation between racial minority groups and
government administration. To preserve the muralsmay take some careful planning on the part of the architectural team,
but it is entirely feasible. Seattle boasts some of the world’s most iconic architectural feats. Incorporating standing walls into
a new structure would seem altogether easy by comparison. And while the preservation may increase construction costs
somewhat, a harmonious resolution to what could otherwise be a disputedividing Seattle’s community amongst racial lines, is

Best wishes for anoptimal outcome. I will be following the developments closely.


Amy Colton,
Owner, Colton Consulting
Seattle/Los Angeles