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Duvall man uses art to bring joy to public during pandemic

Dan Cautrell figured the pandemic a good time to spread some positivity and used his art to create a spark of conversation and hope for the future.

DUVALL, Wash. — Duvall artist Dan Cautrell is known for his many styles of art, and that art is now being displayed near the Snoqualmie Valley River trail for the public's enjoyment. 

The Duvall community has embraced Cautrell’s work and commissioned Cautrell to create numerous cultural and historical pieces: from a centennial inspired Salish canoe sculpture honoring Native American history in the area, to several miniature Totem poles that were recently relocated to the Snoqualmie Valley River trail. 

The same trail Cautrell found himself escaping to for exercise when the pandemic suddenly changed our lives in March. Gyms were closed and Cautrell found himself amongst neighbors who were escaping to nature. 

Inspiration struck when he was cooped up at home and cleaning out clutter in his garage. Cautrell had boxes of prayer flags from a project he did many years ago. He figured it was a good time to spread some positivity and used his art to create a spark of conversation and hope for the future. 

“There is a genre of art these days, art of the pandemic!” Cautrell said. 

He decided his pandemic-inspired public installation was going to build upon the calm he found in nature. He took the prayer flags to the trail and installed them on one of the bridges surrounded by lush vegetation. 

Images of Northwest symbols like trees, birds, bikes and even coffee were are modeled after the Tibetan prayer flags that blow in the wind to bless the surroundings. 

A simple idea and a relatively quick installation for Cautrell has turned in to a buzzed-about attraction.

“It created this little atmosphere here on the trail where people were really emotionally affected by it. Really heartfelt stuff," Cautrell said.  “The trail flags... people in town know it. It’s satisfying to know that it’s really already done its job.”