Glass artist completes Camano fire station artwork

  • Tue Mar 13th, 2012 8:08pm
  • News

By Gale Fiege Herald Writer

CAMANO ISLAND — Glass artist Jack Archibald recently installed at the newly remodeled fire station at Terry’s Corner his latest donation of glass windows.

The artwork, “Wheels Rumbling,” is the fourth in a series for Camano Island Fire Department.

Archibald’s donated glass murals can be found at Camano Community Center, Stanwood Senior Center, Camano Island Visitor Center, Housing Hope, NOAH animal shelter, Skagit Station, Stanwood Library, Skagit Valley Hospital, Mukilteo Library, Stanwood Area Historical Society and all four fire stations on Camano Island.

“All these glass pieces (in the Camano fire stations) are an homage to the Charles Demuth painting of the 1930s based on the poem “The Great Figure” by William Carlos Williams,” Archibald said. “He was trying to capture the feeling of a fire engine rumbling through the cityscape, energies unleashed, lights, action, drama. Heroic stuff. Anyway, these were my attempt to upgrade the imagery to a more modern visual lexicon.”

The glass windows in the fire stations are worth about $30,000, said Archibald, who donates his artwork because he wants to live where art is included in public spaces.

“I would really like to see the area reach a kind of critical mass, and maybe it’s close, where every municipal or county or state project just assumes there will be art involved,” he said. “When the new bridge to Camano was built, one of the criterion the contractor had to address was the art for the span. To me, that was validation of our efforts.”

Archibald, from south Camano Island, is a finalist for two of the largest glass projects in the country. They are a 6,500-square-foot glassworks for a Bay Area Rapid Transit station in California and a 1,200-square-foot glass entryway at the University of Alaska Integrated Science Building.

Archibald recently was selected to build a 100-foot long circular mural for Washington School for the Deaf in Vancouver. The artist has more than 50 large-scale glass installations throughout America.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427;

“The Great Figure, ” by William Carlos Williams

Among the rain

and lights

I saw the figure 5

in gold

on a red





to gong clangs

siren howls

and wheels rumbling

through the dark city.