October 23

Everything is Temporary

Check out a new chalk art installation in SLU before it’s gone.

Could you use a pop of color and a splash of warmth as our days in Seattle get a bit grayer and colder? Head to Van Vorst Plaza in South Lake Union to see a vibrant, hand-drawn chalk mural exploding with orange, yellow, and pink flowers. “Everything is Temporary” by Seattle muralist Josephine Rice is on display through the end of the month.

“My art stems from loving flowers. I have always been drawn to drawing them, and I didn’t want to paint anything else,” Rice said.

Chalk art by artist Josephine Rice on exterior steps at Amazon's Re:Invent building

Rice had been trying to do murals for years, but her day job as a wedding florist and the lack of mural space held her back. “I got my start on people’s garages. I’d put ads on Craigslist and paint things for free. It’s hard to get walls, especially if you are new.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic became more prevalent in the U.S. earlier this year, Rice lost her job as a florist. “I felt like everything was canceled. Forever. Immediately, that same day I got laid off, I started emailing everyone telling them I had time—magic mural time.”

Rice figures she has done at least 20 murals since she lost her job. Outside Seattle, her murals can be found in Portland, Milwaukee, and Wyoming.

“Everything is Temporary” took two days and two assistants to create. Rice explained that passersby and friends alike were bewildered by the impermanence of the display.

“I don’t get sad thinking about this work not staying forever. I used to work in events and weddings. It was all about beauty and opulence, but for just a day. It’s just like flowers in real life — they’re pretty for a while, then they go away, and we move on.”

“Everything is Temporary” is both a reminder to appreciate beauty and a hopeful message of resilience.

See more of Rice’s work on her website and on Instagram.

Story by Ethan Chung and photographs by Sara Umeda.

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