Seattle Times arts writer Michael Upchurch reports: Seattle artist Norie Sato is the 2014 recipient of Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Award, one of six Annual Local Arts Leadership Awards given to artists across the country. Americans for the Arts, based in Washington, D.C., and New York, is a national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the arts. The awards recognize “the achievements of individuals, organizations or programs committed to enriching their communities through the arts.”
Ruri Yampolsky, director of Seattle’s Public Art Program in the Office of Arts & Culture, praises Sato: “Norie represents the best aspects of art in the public realm packed into a gracious and generous person – she is a thoughtful and accomplished artist, a tireless advocate for the arts and artist, and a true leader in envisioning how art and design can and must shape our shared public space.”
Sato has served as a Seattle Arts Commissioner and was lead artist for Sound Transit’s Seattle Central Link Light Rail public art programs. Her latest public-art project, “East/West Connections,” is part of Waterfront Seattle’s redesign of Union Street and aims to “connect streets and facilitate pedestrian passage to new public spaces on Seattle’s Central Waterfront.”
The waterfront project has a personal resonance for the artist. Born in Japan, Sato came to the U.S with her family by ship in the 1950s at the age of 4. While contributing to “In Public: Seattle,” a group of outdoor exhibits, in 1991, she discovered that the waterfront pier she could see from her Pioneer Square studio was the same pier where she’d debarked as a child.
The awards will be presented to the honorees in Nashville on June 13, at the Americans for the Arts 2014 Annual Convention.