Public Art Project up now through 2012
Broadway Ave East at East Denny Way, Seattle WA 98102 (here)
by Jess Rees and Nicole Bernard

Local history STArt Wall project Mapping Capitol Hill opens on June 9, 2011 on Broadway Ave

Nicole Bernard and Jess Rees, two Capitol Hill residents, are artists with Sound Transits STArt program and their piece “Mapping Capitol Hill” opens on Broadway between Denny and John on Thursday, June 9, 2011 and will be up through at least summer 2012.

Their project is a 23 foot wall mural using large scale reproductions of historic maps of the neighborhood highlighting main transportation corridors in 1893, 1950, and 2011 as well as greater Seattle transportation and history timelines. Their aim is to peel away layers of history built up over the last twelve decades and share with neighbors site specific details about the area in which we all live.

We tend to think of a neighborhood as ours. Timeless, changeless, and pure. But of course cities and especially the Capitol Hill neighborhood are vibrant and dynamic places. It is the nature of a living neighborhood to develop and grow- sometimes the changes are celebrated, sometimes painful, and sometimes bittersweet. When something we love seemingly disappears, it’s hard to see how transformations are always positive, but its in the character of a lively neighborhood like Capitol Hill to be in a constant state of flux.

Nicole Bernard and Jess Rees, two local history buffs, decided to look into just exactly how our neighborhood has changed by examining its most basic element--the streets. Amid the disruption of new construction, the project also celebrates the anchoring landmarks of Capitol Hill--places like Broadway Market, Bobby Morris playfield, or repurposed Auto Row buildings along the Pike/Pine corridor. Jess and Nicole create a visual narrative of how the footprint of our neighborhood has changed--or remained the same--over the years. From carriage pathways and electric trolleys to Sound Transit’s light rail station opening in 2016 transportation has evolved. Nicole and Jess situate these evolutions in the context of greater Seattle history and urban growth.

Visitors and neighborhood residents alike are invited to explore this dichotomy and also participate by celebrating our streets and locating places of special significance on these historic maps. Intersecting layers of complexity of our many histories are what make Capitol Hill such a lively, dynamic, and special neighborhood. We invite everyone to share their Capitol Hill stories and memories on the Mapping Capitol Hill facebook page, which can be found at

Jess Rees is a local artist and musician whose work can be seen at Nicole works for a regional sustainability research center in downtown Seattle and has lived in Capitol Hill since 2004. Nicole and Jess can be reached for comment or further questions at