UPDATE: This post has been changed since it was first published. More details have been added from the artist, Stacy Levy.
One of Eastlake’s best-known pieces of public art are a work that thousands of people literally step on every day: Stacy Levy’s “Cornerstones.”
“Cornerstones” are a series of sandblasted sandstone, lithochrome paint and cast-glass pieces embedded at street corners, mostly along Eastlake. They depict microorganisms found along the lake and on the shore. Levy’s web site notes that aquatic organisms are on the lake side of the intersections while terrestrial creatures are on the up-slope side.
The glass portions of each “Cornerstone” show the names of the cross streets. At the corner of each work is a square glass compass with Levy’s name and a star on it. The nub on the compass’ star shows the direction of North.
In an e-mail, Levy explains how her name came to be on the compass:
“My husband put his foot down and said he would not look after the kids while I put in sculpture unless I signed my name on it, hence the compass with my name and the piece’s name.”
Levy says she worked with the Zoology Department at the University of Washington to determine which microorganisms live along the lake shore and which live on the land side.
Levy’s web site says there are 32 “Cornerstones,” but there are actually 33. One isn’t on a corner and was added long after the original stones were finished. It is located along Eastlake above Olmstead Park next to the stairs. It says it’s located on “Fairview Ave. E. and Olmstead” but it isn’t.
Gerry Newcombe of Seattle cast the glass, Levy says.
I originally became interested in “Cornerstones” when I thought that sidewalk construction last summer had caused one piece to be destroyed. It turned out to be intact but was covered by cement dust. In an e-mail, Levy said that one of the pieces was destroyed by new sidewalk construction last year, but she was able to make a replacement.
If you’d like to know where all of the “Cornerstones” are, as well as what’s on each one, check the PDF posted with this document. It has maps and a list of each stone, going from north to south.