South Lake Union Park will be home to the Spiral of Hope until June 17th.

Spiral of Hope inspires families down on their luck

Tough times are even tougher these days. In Washington alone there are about 12,500 families and children that are homeless.

But Bryan Ohno and volunteers from the Urban Art Concept are doing something to give people in Seattle hope.

His public interactive art project in South Lake Union Park, the Spiral of Hope, is made out of fallen tree branches wrapped in a spiral around a living tree in the middle of the park. Each branch is zip-tied to the next, making a seemingly never-ending chain of art.

The artwork is designed to symbolize an upward rise out of homelessness. It's also inspirational for anyone down on their luck.

The Spiral of Hope is part of a larger project called the "Finding Homes" series, also sponsored by the Urban Art Concept. The series will highlight what a home means and what it's like not to have a home.

"Rather than what we typically fear in distress situations such as spiraling out of control, spiraling down, we thought this spiral was actually hopeful," says creator Bryan Ohno.

The work of art is huge. Ohno and volunteers from the Urban Art Concept have used three hundred feet of branches so far. The spiral is also over twelve feet tall.

The group has worked hard to engage both young people and the larger community. The Spiral of Hope is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has partnered with Seattle University to raise community awareness.

"We're pleased to be partnering with Urban Art Concept and Seattle Parks & Recreation on this project," said Professor Barry Mitzman, director of Seattle University's Project on Family Homelessness, in a recent press release. "We hope to stimulate and engage the community to consider the meaning of home and the situation of family homelessness."

For Ohno, this aspect of community engagement is paramount.

"We could bring in all walks of life from young to elderly, and different sectors of our community to work together. And it has become that."

Ohno says that the spiral is not even close to being finished.

"We're coming in every weekend to add to it, so what we're actually doing is making the process of making it more of the exhibit rather than the finished piece," says Bryan Ohno.

The Spiral of Hope will be on display in South Lake Union Park through June 17th.

For more information, or to sign up for the project, visit the Urban Art Concept project page

Jillian Raftery, KIRO Radio Editor
Jillian Raftery is an afternoon editor at KIRO Radio. She loves the neighborly vibe of the Pacific Northwest and spends as much time as possible outdoors.
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