Tag Archives: Sam Sneke

PHOTO ESSAY: Murals — Accessible Art for Everyone

by Susan Fried


There are hundreds of murals all over the City of Seattle, and some of the city’s most iconic reside in South Seattle. Several of those murals have become cherished parts of the neighborhood. Recently, after the Martin Luther King Jr. mural on the wall outside of Fat’s Chicken & Waffles was defaced on MLK Jr. weekend, the community, including the mayor, vowed to work together to repair the damage. Similarly, when the mural celebrating the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party that hangs on the fence in front of Franklin High School was vandalized in 2021, some of the members of Franklin’s Art of Resistance and Resilience Club and several local artists repaired it.

The murals of South Seattle are an eclectic group with depictions of everything from Sasquatches, dogs, and cats to expressions of solidarity, artistic renderings of the Seattle skyline, marine life, and dancers. The art is accessible to anyone driving or walking along Rainier Avenue or Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

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Mural on Rainier and Genesee Promotes Power to the People

by Susan Fried (words and photos)


Artist Sam Sneke got a surprise visit from his family on Friday August 22, as he added vibrant red paint to his mural, depicting the words “Power to the People,” created on a wall at the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and South Genesee Street, between Southern Exposure and Baol African Imports and Gallery. Sneke was selected from a small group of artists who submitted examples of their work to a panel of local business owners. A previous mural, which had been there for a few years and was originally painted by members of the Seattle Neighborhood Group (SNG), had started to deteriorate. Emily Trbovich, a project assistant with SNG, said the old mural had really started to look bad and they wanted to figure out a way to involve the community in fixing it. 

Artist Sam Sneke got a surprise visit from his family while he was working on his mural on Rainier and Genesse on Friday August 21. (Photo: Susan Fried)

“The mural had a lot of tags on it and the wall looked really, really bad, and so we were looking through grants that were available through the city and we stumbled upon the [Seattle] Office of Arts and Culture. And they have a COVID Relief Grant which basically gives you a grant to do art or do some type of community project — it just has to be COVID-related.” Trbovich said the businesses she collaborated with included the restaurant Southern Exposure, the People’s Barbershop, The Beacon Cinema, Bana Ethiopian Restaurant, Ola Wyola, and the non-profit POCAAN. The mural, she says, was COVID related because “A: It’s an inspiring, positive message for the community and B: it also serves as a way to pay an artist who’s been struggling through the COVID crisis like everyone.” 

Artist Sam Sneke talks to the owner of Southern Exposure while he works on the new mural by the intersection of Rainier and Genesse, on August 22. (Photo: Susan Fried)

After Sam Sneke was chosen by the businesses he submitted four different designs, and the businesses overwhelmingly chose “Power to the People.” Trbovich said that the Seattle Neighborhood Group really wanted to help facilitate the mural but that it was also crucial that businesses at the intersection of Rainier and Genesse made the final decision. “We wanted the businesses along that road to really make the decision, to have that power to be in the driver’s seat. It’s their mural, it’s their community, they’re the ones that are there day in and day out, so we really wanted to focus on giving them the opportunity to be a part of that.”

Rainbow-Renee Manier co-owner with her mother of Ola Wyola (left) and Catherine Marshall, the owner of Southern Exposure (right) pose with artist Sam Sneke and his son in front of Sam’s unfinished mural on August 22. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Artist Sam Sneke started the mural on Friday August 22 and by Saturday August 23 the words “Power to the People” were displayed boldly on the wall along Rainier Avenue, for the community and everyone driving by to be inspired by. 

Sam Sneke’s finished mural.

Susan Fried is a Seattle-based photojournalist.