A New Leaf: Art installation at Bates Technical College’s new building incorporates historical neighborhood features 

Posted: January 28, 2022

Have you seen the kinetic, free-standing sculpture on Yakima Avenue at Bates Technical College’s new allied health building? The installation, conceptualized and created by artist Ken McCall on behalf of Arts Washington, features three trees of varying sizes and is fraught with incredible historical and philosophical meaning. 

“I had a lot of fun making it,” said artist Ken McCall of the sculpture. “Bates is a really cool college. I didn’t realize they were there until ‘Arts Washington’ contacted me about the piece. … It’s such a cool area and an environment that’s changing for the positive.” 

“I really like the connection between the community and the college,” McCall noted of the local connections and culture here at Bates Tech. “When I went in to put in the oxidation of the display the culinary students invited me in to eat food. You could feel the meaning of this place. That makes me feel really good — that people are going to appreciate this.” 

“I’ve done a couple of pieces that are in different states and cities where there’s lots of atmosphere and I really enjoy that,” McCall added. 

When asked about the meaning behind the various elements that were intentionally incorporated into the kinetic piece, McCall summarized his inspiration and connection between the map imagery and the structure of the leaves in the stainless steel and aluminum sculpture. 

“It was Bates Tech’s 80th anniversary last year. I wanted to make sure the smallest tree sculpture has the oldest map of the neighborhood and the biggest leaf has the newest, more modern map showing Bates Tech and the neighborhood … It’s a texture to the piece that adds a lot. The streets are the arteries that feed this school. It brings the whole neighborhood into play.” 

The wind-powered art feature also incorporates the symbols representing medical technical (staff and snakes), medical dental (dental medical symbol), technical medical (gears) “signifying various medical fields taught at the college,” according to installation documents. 

Learn more about the artist and the installation on the Arts Washington website at https://www.arts.wa.gov/artwork/?request=record;id=13584;type=101. 

Public Art Installation at Center for Allied Health Education