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Street art in Seattle's SODO neighborhood earns worldwide attention

The two-mile stretch known as the SODO Track is home to murals by 60 artists.
Credit: KING 5
The murals along the SODO Track span two miles between the West Seattle Bridge and the stadiums. Artist Fernando Chamarelli painted this one.

SEATTLE — A two-mile stretch in the SODO neighborhood is putting Seattle on the map in the world of street art.

The SODO Track features murals from more than 60 artists on 30 buildings along 5th Ave. South. Light rail and bus commuters can see the work as they head in and out of the city.

Three years ago, Tamar Benzikry was one of them - and all she saw were the drab backs of warehouses and buildings in disrepair.

“I remember asking myself, 'Is this the best we can do, Seattle?' This is the welcome to the city, we're a city that's full of creativity, we can do better,” she said.

As a senior project manager with 4Culture, the cultural funding and support agency for King County, Benzikry was able to build a public/private coalition to launch the SODO Track.

Over the past three summers, 62 artists from around the world have contributed to the project. Each mural is distinct, but they all play into the same theme: movement.

Gage Hamilton is an artist and curator for the project.

"If you give people space and let them show what they can do, really amazing things can happen," he said. "You don't have to seek it out in a museum or institution or gallery, it's just there for you - even if you're looking for it or not, it kind of seeps in and affects how you feel about your every day."

Benzikry said to her knowledge, the SODO Track is the longest contiguous corridor of street art in the country and the only urban art gallery to feature so many artists painting one theme in the world.

"I mean, it makes my heart skip a beat, really,” she said. "Just seeing what can happen when we come together and give creative people the opportunity to work their magic, because honestly I think it's magic."

The SODO Track runs between the West Seattle Bridge and the stadiums.

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