SEATTLE — Seattle Children's has served the community for 110 years. To tell its story, you need a lot of time and apparently space – 90 feet of space to be exact. That's the full length of a basketball court and a new mural located inside Seattle Children's Research Institute's new facility called Building Cure in South Lake Union. It's one of the largest interior commissions of its kind in the United States.
Seattle native Rebecca Bird was chosen from more than 125 artists around the country to design the mural. She spent about 18 months working on the piece in her New York City studio, where she's now based.
"When I heard about this opportunity I really wanted to do it," Bird said. "I had a family member who was treated at Seattle Children's about eight years ago [and] I know first hand the wonderful work they do."
Seattle Children's wanted the mural to be a visual representation of its mission to help children live a healthy and fulfilling life. The artwork features four distinct panels. Each one tells a piece of Seattle Children's story, from its history to groundbreaking research. Bird admits she was surprised by what she learned while working on the design.
"I didn't realize until I started doing my research that Seattle Children's was founded by a woman and directed by women for its first 100 years," said Bird.
While visitors will be able to see the mural up close when Building Cure opens October 15, it can be viewed now from the street. The painting is visible through the windows along Stewart Street. It's from that distance that the mural takes on a new perspective.
"The overall composition is based on a double helix," said Bird. "If you look, there's a flow that follows through the whole painting to tie it together."
Bird hopes the mural draws people in to learn more about Seattle Children's.
"I would hope viewers would feel the wonder of science and the wonder of people working together to do this research that saves lives," said Bird.