New Sculpture’s “Strong Ties” to the Simpson Center

Evan Blackwell, Metropolis, 2011. Courtesy of the Foster/White Gallery

Metropolis, a new art installation at Edmonds Community College (ECC) in Lynnwood, WA, has some surprising ties to the Simpson Center.

Strong ties.

The sculpture, created by Seattle artist Evan Blackwell, has been designed specifically for the corrugated exterior of Meadowdale Hall, a building housing ECC’s visual arts, engineering, construction management and energy management programs. It is an assemblage of stainless steel hardware pieces and salvaged fasteners that have been arranged in a pattern inspired by circuit boards. 

Among the repurposed hardware are Simpson Strong-Ties, structural connectors created by Barclay Simpson. Simpson, who took over his father’s window screen business in 1947 and started the structural connector business in 1956, has been a major benefactor to the Simpson Center. A transformative gift made by Simpson in 1997 as a tribute to his father established an endowment fund for the support of excellence in the humanities at the UW. The Center’s full name is the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities in honor of this gift.

An artist who has been interested in collecting, rearranging, reusing, and translating everyday materials throughout his work, Blackwell received his MFA from UW in 2008. He intends the materials and design of Metropolis to reflect not only physical operating systems, but also the connections between the disciplines housed within the building as well as the broader connectivity of the campus as a whole.

An image of Evan Blackwell's Metropolis appears courtesy of the artist and Foster/White Gallery