By Omie Drawhorn
Port of Seattle

Three years ago the City of Des Moines lost Carmen Scott (pictured above), a beloved community member who devoted her life to making the area a better place.

Members of the Des Moines Legacy Foundation decided to honor Carmen’s contributions to the community by constructing an environmentally-themed sculpture on the Des Moines Waterfront in her honor.

Carmen, a former city councilmember, historic advocate, and photographer, was interested in the natural beauty of the waterfront and art, so the group came up with the concept of an interactive kaleidoscope and water history-oriented piece said Patrice Thorell, Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Des Moines.

The Des Moines Legacy Foundation brought on board internationally-recognized glass artist George C Scott, who lives in Des Moines, to help design and construct the sculpture. There was just one problem. The group lacked the funding to make the public art and educational project happen.

“The artist was donating his time and his studio, but as far as the cost of the actual work, it was beyond our budget,” Thorell said.

When the group heard about the Port of Seattle’s Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Small Matching Grants Fund, they saw a way to move the project forward and completed an application for the grant. The environmental sculpture project was one of 11 recipients of the first round of grant funding awarded last fall.

The ACE Fund offers community members of SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines the chance to apply for up to $10,000 of Port funding to improve their communities’ environment and public spaces. Applicants from local community organizations, chambers of commerce, service organizations, youth or athletic associations, or other associations located in or providing services in the cities of SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines can apply for funding.

The Port is now accepting applications for the second round of grant funding, which must be submitted by noon on March 26.

Information on submitting a grant application is located here:

“The project would not have happened without the ACE Fund,” Thorell said. “It’s been a wonderful gift for our community to have that opportunity to do a project like this; it’s a legacy for our waterfront, a beautiful piece of art for the waterfront, and an interesting piece of art as well.”

George C Scott ( said the sculpture will incorporate found objects, history of waterfront, and environmental elements all in an interactive, accessible piece of art.

Another aspect of the project is community involvement. George C Scott is welcoming community members, middle school art students, and seniors into his studio to work on the mosaic and decorative elements of the coastal-themed project.

Construction of the sculpture is planned for this spring with project completion by July, but is contingent on whether George Scott is able to procure some large nautical pieces for the sculpture like a diving bell and other recycled types of waterborne materials.

“Our waterfront history is really important,” George C Scott said. “This is going to be a piece of art that is going to be an attraction. It will bring people down to the waterfront to learn about the history of waterfront. They’ll have the opportunity to interact with nature and really cool artwork.”

George C Scott said he looks forward to bringing more public art to Des Moines.

“Kids can come down and learn about navigation and the world being round,” he said. “The thing is to engage the public and give them a memorable experience when they visit the Des Moines marina.”