by Staff Writer
Plans are afoot for a royal celebration in Rainier Beach. on June 4, Hundreds of local residents are expected to join Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, city officials, and local business and community leaders on the corner of Rainier Ave S and 51st (Barton Place) for a block party and dedication of the neighborhood’s new king and queen chess sculptures. The celebration of the king and queen is part of SDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools program.
The two oversized chess pieces have greeted curious passersbys for the past month, and were designed by South Seattle artist Peter Reiquam, who will also be in attendance.
A Rainier Beach local, Reiquam worked with community members, SDOT Safe Routes to Schools, the Rainer Beach Merchants Association and the Office of Seattle Arts & Culture to develop the sculptures, which they say emphasize the unique spirit, character and pride of the area while beautifying a presently under-utilized public space.
The king and queen also pay tribute to Detective Cookie, long beloved within the community, and her decade-old chess club. The club, which teaches the finer points of the age old game to youth and adults alike, meets weekly at both the Rainier Beach Library and the Rainer Beach Community Center.
Funding for the sculptures came from the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
The sculpture dedication and block party, originally scheduled for May 17th, will now take place at 11am on Saturday June 4. Barton Place will be closed from Rainier Ave S to 50th Ave S, from 11am – 2pm with free food, DJ, dance party, giant chess, Detective Cookie’s Chess Club, street chalk art, cultural performances and MORE.
Attendees will also have the option to weigh in on a future chess park at the location powered by a Department of Neighborhood Grant and the Friends of Detective Cookie Chess Park.
Featured image courtesy of Peter Reiquam