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Getting to know Kate Clark, Artist in Residence

Photo credit Jason Novak

We first introduced Kate Clark a when she became Seattle City Light’s Artist-in-Residence in 2021. Prior to this, Kate spent 10 years working on collaborative and community-based projects. While that work was on a more granular level, project by project, now Kate Clark has been charged with envisioning a master plan for how City Light administers its 1% for Art Fund dollars.

Kate’s plan will propose potential public art projects for future City Light projects, sites and initiatives to be implemented over 10 years. It will be released later this year, and with the upcoming 50th anniversary for the City’s 1% for the Arts Fund, we wanted to get to know our Artist-in-Residence better.


  • Name: Kate Clark 
  • Role: Seattle City Light Artist-in-Residence 
  • Years of service:


  • Hometown: Anacortes , WA 
  • Alma mater: The Evergreen State College, UC San Diego 
  • Discipline/Trade of study: Public Art 
  • Tell us about your family/pets: I live with two lovely cats — Ged (named after an Ursula K. Le Guin character) and Sumi (after the ink). My mother, brother, and cousins live scattered throughout Seattle, Olympia and Anacortes.


What do you like most about your role?

I get to learn a lot, visit fascinating locations and use my imagination. 

What is the most rewarding part of your work at the utility?

As an artist who works at the intersections of community-engaged practice and public art, it’s incredibly rewarding to put forth proposals and suggestions that can help strengthen opportunities for artists to create public art projects that are meaningfully connected to the neighborhoods their artwork is designed for and with. 

What are some trends you see happening in the art industry?

I’m most moved by a powerful trend in critiquing the historical role monuments have served in upholding white supremacist notions and creating projects that dismantle these notions and uplift lesser told stories. I admire the work of projects like Monument Lab, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and individual works from artists like Simone Leigh and Hank Willis Thomas. 


What energizes you and brings you excitement?

Being with a group who are all participating in a creative process that they love — and creating a community from it. The most recent experience of this was for a book release event hosted by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community — celebrating the incredible book Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America by artist Matika Wilbur. This book, ten years in the making, involved Matika Wilbur photographing and interviewing members of all 562 federally recognized tribes.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

A quote from science-fiction author Octavia Butler: “All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change.” I find this quote equally comforting and terrifying. 

How do you prefer to start/end your day? 

I’m required to start the day with a cup of Yorkshire Gold (a habit from the influence of an English friend), and I love to end the day with a book. 

What is the one item you can’t live without that needs electricity to operate?

Basic, but true: my cell phone. 

What fashion trend would you bring back?

I had to look up the official name of this accessory: it’s called a ferronnière. It’s a headband that encircles the forehead and has a small jewel suspended from the center. These were popular as formal wear for women in the 15th and 19th centuries, but I’m advocating for the return of these for all genders. For context, refer to the elves in the Lord of the Rings. Seriously, everyone looks good in these things. Please imagine anyone you know with a head necklace — and tell me if I’m wrong.  

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

Weekends are my times to cook or bake something elaborate and to take a sauna.