Arts & Culture

A new mural on Dock Street, to be dedicated at Maritime Fest, honors Tacoma’s working waterfront

There’s a new splash of aqua and gold under the steely-black Murray Morgan bridge on Tacoma’s waterfront.

A four-sided mural was commissioned by the City of Tacoma as part of the bridge’s rehabilitation and painted on the storm water collection box underneath on Dock Street. It was just finished by Gig Harbor artist Nick Goettling, and will be dedicated at 3 p.m. Saturday as part of Maritime Fest.

“We are pleased to add this powerful mural that pays tribute to Tacoma’s rich history to the City’s art collection,” said Tacoma arts administrator Amy McBride in a press release. “It’s bold and bright, tells a great story, and gives visual interest to both motorists and pedestrians.”

Bold and bright it is. On the south side, a giant, muscly gold laborer hammers down on a stylized blue triangle labeled “Tacoma Mill, 1869”; around the corner on the street side, a large woman — presumably Thea Foss, and also gold — rows a boat past stylized aqua water lines, with painted brickwork above in the style of Tacoma’s warehouses and old City Hall.

Around the pedestrian elevator on the north side is an all-blue mural of the bridge itself, with a single gold light burning in the caretaker’s house high in the girders; a vintage typewriter loaded with fresh paper hints at historian Murray Morgan.

And don’t forget to walk right around to see a blue, child-like portrait of the legendary Jack the Bear, infamous for his beer habits in early 20th century downtown Tacoma.

At once lighthearted and commemorative, stylized and figurative, the $12,000 mural brightens up the dock area, with the oversize scale making it easily readable from a car.