FEDERAL WAY — Vandals slashed dozens of temporary public art murals that were recently installed at the construction site of downtown Federal Way’s future light rail station. The murals include numerous depictions of people of color and the damage is suspected to have been racially motivated.
The slashed murals, which through collaboration with community groups were recently installed on the outside of construction fencing, include works by local artists Jasmine Iona Brown, Lauren Iida, Toka Valu, Tiffanny Hammonds, Sabah Al-Dhaher, and barry johnson.
“I came into this realm of temporary public art as a starry eyed, full-of-enthusiasm kid from the islands as my mom used to say. That kid was definitely deflated and awakened following the distasteful slashing of the murals,” said Valu. “However, this act only affirmed for me how important this work is in the continued dialogue and advocacy for communities like the one I come from is.”
Sound Transit thinks the vandals struck on the night of Aug. 20. The agency is working with its security, the City of Federal Way, and the construction contractor to consider methods to protect the murals from further harm, including potential security and surveillance measures. Members of the community are encouraged to report any information about who perpetrated this crime.
“We won’t let this cowardly act of vandalism threaten people’s ability to benefit from the important work of these artists,” said Sound Transit Executive Director of Design, Engineering, and Construction Ron Lewis. “Following our nation’s long history of racism and unfair treatment of Black people and other people of color, it is critical for us to show our support for change. We are restoring the artwork and taking measures that seek to prevent any further disgraceful acts.”