South Lake Union Discovery Center

SLU Posts: Feature Post

The new mural at the Y @ Cascade People's Center slowly comes to life.

Posted July 8, 2015 in Features

A Cascading Effect—New Mural for the People’s Center

The Cascade neighborhood is full of history, cool places to live and community spirit. The best way to celebrate this, you ask? How about some brand-new public art to tout its special presence in Seattle? The current Plain Jane face of the Y @ Cascade People’s Center is getting ready for its close-up while paying homage to South Lake Union’s rich history.

A colorful, culturally relevant mural will soon bloom on its south wall, beautifying the structure and conveying the important part Cascade has played in local history. The mural will consist of geometric symbols representing different aspects of the building in a tapestry format—a heart, a compass, recycled water, trees and other notable icons. It will run the entire length of the Center and be visible from Pontius and Thomas streets.

Putting it Together
It takes a village to make a mural, and in many ways, Cascade really is a village. A clutch of local businesses and organizations are partnering with the People’s Center on the project: Adream Studios, Caffé Torino, and Vulcan Real Estate, which matched a grant to help with costs. And since it’s the People’s Center, it’s no surprise that a phalanx of volunteers is pitching in on the project, from helping brainstorm the mural’s design and preparing the site for painting, to making runs for supplies, constructing scaffolding and thinning plants near the wall.

Josh Epstein, building manager for the Y @ Cascade People’s Center, said when the project kicked off, the mural committee was looking for a stylistic artist whose work moved them. Then they caught sight of a mural of Eddie Vedder painted at nearby Caffé Torino. They were floored by the talent of artist Adream de Valdivia, and knew he was the one to tackle the People’s Center mural.

“The Cascade People’s Center is at the heart of the Cascade neighborhood, which is at the heart of Seattle, so we want to make something that is very positive and really stands out,” Epstein said. “Adream’s ethereal aesthetic and great technical skill will lead to an attractive and vibrant display for our simple square façade. Many beautiful things happen in and around our building. This mural will turn us into more of a landmark and make us more welcoming as an institution and a community.”

De Valdivia is known for his large, brilliantly hued murals and paintings of iconic figures and whirling, dreamlike tableaux. Born in Pasco, Wash., he has trained at the Chelsea School of Design in London, Cornish School of the Arts, the University of Washington and the Pratt Fine Arts Center. His work hangs in collections around the world, including those of Swizz Beatz, Kendrick Lamar and Chris Brown.

De Valdivia says that as an artist representing Washington state, he always felt that it was his duty to change America—one wall at a time. “Art breaks expressive boundaries,” he said. “Without words, art reaches people.”

Once completed, this vibrant mural is bound to reach you. It will be unveiled for the entire neighborhood during a special celebration in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned!


The Y @ Cascade People’s Center is a partnership with the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation department. Located at the heart of Cascade at 309 Pontius N, it provides community services that make the neighborhood a more welcoming and dynamic place, with:
• Intergenerational Homework Help
• Pop-Up technology labs
• Free all-ages yoga
• Inclusive community potlucks
• Community coffee hour
• Youth outdoor leadership programs
Want to know more? Click HERE.

Posted by DiscoverSLU on Jul. 8
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