Remembering Seattle Print Artist and Muralist Kristen Ramirez
From early in her career, Kristen Ramirez believed art is at its most powerful when shared with the public. She taught drawing and printmaking at various local institutions, including the Pratt Fine Art Center, Cornish College of the Arts, Edmonds Community Center and the University of Washington, influencing countless students with her community-engaged approach to art.
Ramirez was a public art project manager there for more than six years, working with artists to develop and install works as part of the 1% for Art program. During that time, she was also artist in residence at the Seattle Department of Transportation, serving as an artistic liaison between the departments and generating project ideas for both.
Ramirez would have turned 51 on April 6. Her spirit lives on in her son, and in his art — which she fostered enthusiastically, arranging coffee shop exhibits and making sticker versions of his drawings. Her influence is there in the students, artists and friends she inspired and elevated, as well as in the ongoing public art projects that she had embarked on with collaborators Engstrom and Johnson. (“I hear her voice telling me, ‘You got this,’ ” Johnson says. “It feels good to keep her alive with this work.”) And she’s here visibly, in the murals that enliven our cityscape.