A Rebirth for the West Seattle Murals

Murals of West Seattle

A gift of $100,000 to West Seattle Junction Association from Adah Cruzen, in honor of late husband Earl Cruzen, undergirds campaign to restore Murals of West Seattle

The West Seattle Junction Association is deeply grateful to announce receipt of a $100,000 contribution from longtime Alki resident Adah Rhodes Cruzen that will jumpstart restoration of the nearly 30-year-old historical Murals of West Seattle.

Cruzen made the contribution this month on behalf of the estate of her late husband, Earl Cruzen, who is widely recognized as the “father of the murals” and who died Jan. 23, 2017, at the age of 96.

“This extraordinary gift will spark the rebirth of our beloved Murals of West Seattle,” says Lora Swift, executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association. “We are thrilled by Adah Cruzen’s generosity and once again inspired by the vision and hard work of Earl Cruzen to create a unique project to inspire our community.”

All of the 11 murals were painted in or near the West Seattle Junction except one (“Morgan Street Market”), which is seven blocks south at Morgan Junction. Dan Austin, owner of Peel and Press in the Morgan Junction, has led a fundraising effort to restore the Morgan mural since 2015.  Last month, plans were announced, based on contributions from the building owner and Morgan Community Association and a discount from mural restorer Bob Henry, to begin restoration of the Morgan mural this summer.

“My goal in restoring the Morgan Junction mural is to reignite interest around all of Murals of West Seattle,” Austin says. “So many people before us worked tirelessly to make these murals a reality. Adah’s amazing gift will allow these to remain part of West Seattle for generations to enjoy.”

Cruzen says she made the contribution to honor her late husband, a lifelong resident and business leader of West Seattle. “Earl loved the murals,” she says, “and he would be delighted to be able to give them new life.”

Adah Cruzen West Seattle Junction

The Cruzen gift, Swift says, will be married to an existing fund of $3,800 for mural restoration and a recent $5,000 grant from the West Seattle Garden Tour to provide the lion’s share of a campaign to restore the Junction’s 11 historical murals to their former glory.

The Murals of West Seattle project has a homegrown history. As chair of the then-Junction Development Committee (a combination of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, West Seattle Junction Association and West Seattle Trusteed Properties), Earl Cruzen originated the project with the help of fellow West Seattleite Moe Beerman after the two and their wives visited similar mural sites in southwestern Washington and Chemainus, B.C.

During five summers from 1989 to 1993, world-renowned artists created the Murals of West Seattle, based on historical photographs from the Duwamish peninsula provided by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Of the original 11 murals, nine remain in their original locations. In 2016, one (“Alki in the Twenties”) was re-created in a different location on the same property, and another (“Midnight Call”) was taken down. Over the past three decades, while two murals have gotten touch-ups, all of the existing murals have suffered the ravages of weather and graffiti.

Full restoration of the murals will cost in the neighborhood of $195,000, Swift says, and additional funds will be raised via crowd-funding and other methods.

The West Seattle Junction Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and contributions to the association for the mural-restoration fund are tax-deductible.

The goal is to raise funds not only to restore the existing murals but also to recreate the “Midnight Call” mural. Further, Swift and Austin aim to establish a yearly fundraising event to maintain the condition of existing murals and add new ones.

More background on the Murals of West Seattle is available at this web page of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

An obituary and eulogy for Earl Cruzen is available at this web page of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Here is a complete list of the Murals of West Seattle, in chronological order of their creation in 1989-1993:

Mural #1: West Seattle Ferries by Bill Garnet
4707 CALIFORNIA AVE SW

Mural #2: The Junction by Eric Grohe
4747 CALIFORNIA AVE SW

Mural #3: Midnight Call by Don Barrie (removed in 2016)
4713 44TH AVE SW

Mural #4: Mosquito Boat Landing by Susan Tooke
4554 CALIFORNIA AVE SW

Mural #5: The First Duwamish Bridge by Robert Dafford
4740 44TH AVE SW

Mural #6: Morgan Street Market by Bruce Rickett
6501 CALIFORNIA AVE SW 98136

Mural #7: Alki in the Twenties by Bruce Rickett (re-created in 2016)
4755 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW

Mural #8: Tuesday Bank Day by Alan Wylie
4501 CALIFORNIA AVE SW

Mural #9: The Hi Yu Parade by Lanny Little
4412 CALIFORNIA AVE SW

Mural #10: The Old Mud Hole by Mike Svob
4520 44TH AVE SW

Mural #11: Press Day by Alan Wylie
4727 44TH AVE SW

Including the (unofficial) 12th Mural: Walking on Logs

You can donate now to the Mural Project, your donation is tax deductible as the Junction Association is a nonprofit.

Make checks payable to: West Seattle Junction Association

Mail check to:

West Seattle Junction Association

c/o Mural Project

4210 SW Oregon St, Suite A

Seattle, WA 98116

The Junction will send you a receipt.

Links:

Morgan Community Association morganjunction.org

Peel and Press www.peelandpressws.com

Murals of West Seattle www.facebook.com/muralsofwestseattle

West Seattle Garden Tour www.westseattlegardentour.org

Southwest Seattle Historical Society www.loghousemuseum.org/blog/what-is-the-future-of-the-murals-of-west-seattle

Obituary and eulogy for Earl Cruzen www.loghousemuseum.org/blog/advisory-council-member-earl-cruzen-father-of-the-murals-of-west-seattle-has-died