It’s been over a month now since our fish arrived on 14th Ave NW and they still make me smile as I pass by them. Some of you may be wondering where these fish came from and what they’re all about. Well, do I have a story for you!
This all started back in 2009 when The ebca applied for and received a Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Matching Grant to install planters in the median on 14th Ave NW. We dubbed our project, “Planting Partnerships on 14th Ave NW”, because the goal of our project wasn’t just to beautify our neighborhood, but to build strong community bonds between our residents, businesses and organizations of East Ballard and the surrounding neighborhood. If you’ve been a faithful follower of this blog over the past year, you’ve seen that it has truly taken a village to get these planters installed.
We’ve had businesses donate everything from plants to compost, to gravel and food. We had neighbors with trucks, trailers and strong backs to help pick up and deliver these hefty containers. There were neighbors with shovels for compost and stakes for laying out landscape fabric, and families that donned safety vests to clean up the streets. I can’t forget the committee members who worked with the city to get the permitting and nonprofits, like Groundswell NW providing us with insurance and fiscal sponsorship. Thanks goes to the landscape architects and planter consultants who donated their time to select the plants and guide the planting process. I also need to include the personal checks and Ballard Market Receipt donations that will be helping offset our future watering and plant replacement costs. We’re still taking donations, so it’s not too late to help out!
So, what about those fish? I have to say that these fish are the icing on the cake. Not that sticky, too sweet stuff that sticks to the roof of your mouth, but instead, that light and airy whipped cream topping that you can’t get enough of and you specifically scope out that extra big end-piece to make sure you get enough!
These “fish-sticks”, as I’ve heard them lovingly referred to, are the culminating project of our grant. The ebca had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the teachers and students at St. Alphonsus School in East Ballard on this art project. Shannon Dunn and I had a blast working with the teachers and staff from St. Als over the past 4 months brainstorming ideas for this project and figuring out all the logistics to make it happen. Susan Ozubko, the art teacher from St. Als, had the foresight to save old vinyl window shades that had been recently replaced at the school. This turned out to be great waterproof material for the fish, plus one less item going to the landfill. Susan worked with her students to design, paint and decorate the fish. Shannon and I worked out the installation logistics and luckily, we had had the forethought to work with the ReStore at the beginning of our project to have them design and install platforms inside our planters to hold the dowels in place.
On April 16, during our Adopt A Street Cleanup Event, several students from St. Als and neighbors proudly paraded along 14th Ave NW and “planted” the fish. It was great fun to see the school and the community come together during this event. We had such a great time, that we’re already talking about doing more projects together. But for now, I think we all need a little break and a chance to sit back and enjoy our accomplishments. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in this project. I feel so lucky to live in a such an active and vibrant community!
p.s. on your next walk along 14th, take a closer look at the fish and you’ll see that the students added personalized messages that’ll really make you smile!