Jan. 27, 12:24 p.m. [Click on the sketch to view larger]
I met Carver Gayton at the Northwest African American Museum Wednesday afternoon. The retired executive director of the museum had just finished a meeting with The Friends of Jimi Hendrix Park committee, a grass-roots initiative to improve the park next to the museum. A former parking lot, it is now a field of grass with great views of the city but little sign of the iconic Seattle musician for whom it was named in 2006.
Hendrix’s statue on Capitol Hill may be moved here to help in that regard. Even though I had come to sketch the museum exhibit “East by Northwest,” I waited for a chance to ask Gayton about the statue’s possible relocation.
He was very gracious and even let me do a sketch while we talked. We walked over the wet grass and sat in the middle of the park under clear skies and unseasonably warm January weather. It’s a beautiful location. On my sketch, you can see the old Colman School building (built in 1909) in the background, where the museum occupies the first floor.
Moving Hendrix’s statue to the park is just one of the things they’re looking at, he explained. “By moving it here, it’s coming closer to where his roots were, physically closer to the home where he lived, to the schools he attended,” he said.
Gayton said there could also be concerts or a garden. “The sky is the limit, let’s hear what the community has to say.”
This evening they are holding an open house here to gather community input about the future of the park. “The goal is to reflect, in a more distinct way, the essence of what Jimmy Hendrix is about,” he said.
Gayton is a prominent figure in Seattle for his civic involvement and family history — he is the grandson of some of the first black settlers in Seattle who arrived in the late 1800s.
For more information about the open house visit Jimi Hendrix Park dot org.
January 28, 2010 at 11:59 AM