Murray Morgan Bridge mural opportunity

16 Jan

DSC_0027The City of Tacoma invites artists and/or artist teams who reside in Washington state’s Pierce, Kitsap or Thurston Counties to submit qualifications for a $10,000 commission to paint a site-responsive mural that reflects the history and/or architecture of the bridge and/or area on the concrete wall of the stormwater collection system underneath the western side of Tacoma’s Murray Morgan Bridge.

Budget: $10,000 (all inclusive of artist fees, materials, supplies, equipment, insurance, travel, taxes, etc.)

Application Deadline: March 14, 2014, midnight

Artist(s) must reside in the South Sound, defined as the following counties of Washington State: Pierce, Kitsap, or Thurston. Applicant may apply as a single artist or as an artist team. Applicant must be professional artist, 18 years or older and not a full-time student.

Check out the prospectus for full details, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

About the Murray Morgan Bridge

The stormwater collection system is located under the west side of the Murray Morgan Bridge at Dock Street and S. 11th Street.

The stormwater collection system is located under the west side of the Murray Morgan Bridge at Dock Street and S. 11th Street.

The Murray Morgan Bridge, also known as the 11th Street Bridge, is a vertical-lift bridge that connects downtown Tacoma with the tideflats, spanning the Thea Foss Waterway. Designed for the City of Tacoma in 1911 by noted bridge engineering firm Waddell & Harrington, the bridge originally opened on Feb. 15, 1913. The structure was unique for lift bridges due to its sloping grade, the high clearance above the water, and the truss between the towers that was designed to carry a water line to the Port.

During the 1930s the bridge became a demonstration center for longshoremen and lumber mill workers seeking union recognition and better wages as well as working conditions.

The Washington State Department of Transportation acquired the bridge in 1957 when 11th Street became State Route 509. Then, in 1982, the bridge was placed in the National Register of Historic Places both because of its designers, Waddell and Harrington of Kansas City, and because it was a unique and early example of a vertical lift bridge.

In 1997, the bridge was named after local author, historian, and journalist Murray Morgan who worked on his book, Skid Road, while working as a tender in the operator’s house on top of the bridge in the 1950s.

After the construction of the new State Route 509 in 1997, the bridge was heading towards demolition until a group of citizens called Save Our Bridge convinced City officials and the State in 2003 to save the bridge.

In 2007, the bridge closed to traffic due to safety concerns and general wear-and-tear the bridge had suffered in its near 100-year lifespan. Then, in 2010, ownership of the bridge was returned to the City and the City began planning the rehabilitation of the bridge. On February 15, 2013, the 100-year anniversary of the bridge’s original opening, the Murray Morgan Bridge was rededicated.

The $57 million rehabilitation of the bridge included a new deck, steel repairs and replacement, new mechanical and electrical systems to raise and lower the lift span, a new elevator and stairs to connect downtown to the west side of the Foss Waterway, and a new coat of black paint, the original color of the bridge.

Original gears that were used to raise and lower the bridge are mounted on top of the west wall of the stormwater collection system. The original capstan, which was used to manually raise and lower the lift span during power outages, is mounted in front of the west wall of the stormwater collection system.

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