Days Numbered for Musicians Mural in Lower Queen Anne

By Stephen Cohen

It’s a familiar site for those driving by the former home of Silver Platters on 705 5th Ave. North in lower Queen Anne, but it won’t be much longer.

The large mural painted on the back of the building — and the building itself, which was recently home to the Seattle Immersive Theatre — will be coming down over the next couple of months. In its place, a five-story, 99-unit apartment complex will rise, according to plans submitted to the city.

The mural was painted over three long weekends in 2012 by students attending a one-time summer camp by local artist Don Rockwell. According to Silver Platters owner Mike Batt, the mural had a dual purpose: In addition to paying tribute to artists like Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix, murals by local artists tended to keep graffiti artists away.

While he has fond memories of the project, Rockwell isn’t exactly mourning the upcoming loss.

“I wouldn’t bend over backwards trying to preserve it. It was a student effort, and they had fun doing it and they learned a lot,” Rockwell said.

Rockwell said the design, which features artists from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan, was meant to show the connection of different types of pop music, from gospel to blues to jazz to rock and roll.

Rockwell’s work can be seen throughout the city, including at the current Silver Platters location in Sodo, which features an indoor mural that pays “homage to the history of music in the Northwest,” according to Batt.

As a longtime sign painter and mural artist, Rockwell is used to the transitory nature of his work, which helps explain his laissez-faire attitude toward its future.

“I’m surprised it was up there as long as it was,” he said.

In addition to painting new murals on the outside of Silver Platters in Sodo, Rockwell is currently working on a project at the Lagunitas brewery in Ballard.

Story syndicated from SeattlePI.com, featured photo credit Grant Hindsley.

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