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Buster Simpson: Public Projects


Summary Note

Buster Simpson: Public Projects archive consists of catalogs about public projects, including public art installations, sculptures, and master plans. It includes a stamped aluminum weathervane, which were placed near polluted sites to bring attention to violated salmon habitats.

Biographical Note

Buster Simpson is a Seattle-based environmental artist and activist born in 1942. He received his BA and MFA in Sculpture from the University of Michigan (1963-69), and since the 1970s has worked on major infrastructure projects, site master planning, signature sculptures, museum installations, and community projects throughout the United States and Canada. His practice incorporates ecological, historical, social, and aesthetic considerations, contextualizing them into the site-specific values of place. Presently, he is working on a project along the greenway of the South Portland Waterfront. Recent projects include master plans for a 40-acre sustainable arts plan for downtown Vancouver Canada, a 1.8 billion dollar wastewater treatment plant, and the 14-mile Al Rayyan Road project in Doha Qatar. Most recently, installations include, Parable for Sound Transit, Iceblade in Vancouver B.C. and Instrument Implement at the Water Environmental Center, Walla Walla.

Scope and Content

The archive consists of catalogs about public projects, including public art installations, sculptures, and master plans. The archive also includes a stamped aluminum weathervane provided to David Abel, a poet in Portland, Oregon, who acted as a literary consultant to Simpson for a system-wide artwork to be constructed in 2012 - 2013 as part of the Portland-Milwaukee Light Rail Transit Project. The artwork for the transit project consists of poetry lines stamped into concrete building elements. The weathervane is in the shape of a salmon, and derives from the fish Simpson was creating in 1975-1984 as part of his studio work while in residence near Seattle’s Pike Place. The weathervanes were both sold and given away at potlatches, and placed near polluted sites to attract attention to violated habitats. Simpson creates them in editions or “schools,” the most recent one of which was made in 2008. The BOUND license plate is stamped at the Walla Walla Penitentiary and “provides a poetic license between the incarcerated prisoners and the endangered salmon navigating a culvert and Mill Creek that runs adjacent to the Penitentiary and through the town of Walla Walla, Washington.” (Buster Simpson)


The Buster Simpson: Public Projects archive is organized into two folders.

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates


Quantity / Extent

.25 cubic feet



Related Publications

Simpson, Buster. Eat Crow, Cut Bait. Blurb: 2012.

Simpson, Buster. The Monolith: Historic Aggregate Plant for Shasta Dam: Turtle Bay Exploration Park - Redding California. Blurb: 2010.

Simpson, Buster. Walla Walla Bound. Self-Published: 2013.

Container Listing:

  • CAE Box 29

    • Folder 1 Artist and Other Project Information, 1996 – 2016
    • Folder 2 Eat Crow, Cut Bait, 2008 – 2012