19 Jun Get to Know the Liberty Bank Building Artists: Esther Ervin
As an artist whose work will appear at the Liberty Bank Building, Esther Ervin is intent on honoring the history of the Central District. In her 24 years of residence, she has witnessed its struggles with displacement and gentrification and is deeply concerned with the erasure of its cultural identity.
The Liberty Bank Building, in addition to its 115 affordable homes for working families and nearly 3,000 square feet of space for local businesses, will showcase a legacy of struggle and resilience. Along with artist Al Doggett, her longtime collaborator, Ervin is co-curator of a project involving several artists whose work will be displayed permanently.
For her contribution, she will craft four canopy glass panels to hang overhead at the building’s entrance depicting the six neighborhoods of the Central District as defined by redlining until the 1970s. Each panel will portray a Salish canoe, telling the story of gentrification and occupation that swept away native communities from the area. She’s also decorating eleven benches with Ipe wood – five will include safe deposit box doors original to Liberty Bank and will show a basket weave pattern prominent in indigenous African and native cultures.
She sees her work as an opportunity to preserve the history of this this neighborhood in a broad sense – the people who are still there and those who have had to leave. Three bronze salmon sculptures will swim up a runnel in the courtyard to represent the uphill struggle against the current faced by so many communities who have lived in the area that the Central District occupies.
Ervin demonstrates a versatility that prevents any restriction to her talent. She enjoys working across a range of media, including sculpture, painting, and illustration – her jewelry has been exhibited as far away as Beijing. Until the end of July, you can view Esther’s artwork on the second floor of the 12th Avenue Arts Building.