Photo by Jessica Keller: Ballard artist Ariel Parrow works on a section of the mural she is painting on the wall of the WBL Services building, 4433 27th Ave. W., in Magnolia. The Magnolia Chamber of Commerce commissioned Parrow to create the mural, featuring elements of industries found in Magnolia, including the railroad and salmon.
Photo by Jessica Keller: Ballard artist Ariel Parrow works on a section of the mural she is painting on the wall of the WBL Services building, 4433 27th Ave. W., in Magnolia. The Magnolia Chamber of Commerce commissioned Parrow to create the mural, featuring elements of industries found in Magnolia, including the railroad and salmon.
1
2

When Ballard artist Ariel Parrow reached out to the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce earlier this year to gauge the organization’s interest in having her paint a large-scale piece of art — her specialty — in the neighborhood, she had no idea her proposal would receive such an enthusiastic reception.

Not only did the Magnolia chamber welcome Parrow’s pitch, it actually was perfectly timed because the organization had already been contemplating ideas to transform a certain area of Magnolia.

Chamber Executive Director Jason Thibeaux said members had been discussing for some time how to transform the northeast quadrant of Magnolia off Commodore Way. That section of Magnolia is one of the few areas zoned for light industrial in Seattle, he said, and the businesses there fill a vital, albeit understated, niche in Magnolia and Seattle’s economy.

“In some ways, it seems like it’s the forgotten part of Magnolia,” Thibeaux said of the area. “It brings so much in regards to jobs. There’s just some great businesses in Magnolia that just don’t have the visibility, and they deserve to be celebrated.”

That area of Magnolia also appealed to Parrow as an artist.

“There’s just so much space over here and all these buildings with walls open for artwork,” Parrow said last week.

Soon after Parrow’s initial call, Thibeaux lined up sponsors for the project, and the chamber commissioned Parrow to paint a mural on the side of the WBL Services building at 4433 27th Ave. W. Thibeaux said he approached Chamber President Daniela Eng, an owner of WBL Services, about the idea of a mural, and Eng agreed her building was a good place to launch the chamber’s revitalization efforts.

“Currently, it’s visible all the way to Ballard because there’s nothing in front of it right now, just a canal,” Thibeaux said of the building.

Parrow began painting the mural a couple of weeks ago, but only after she and the chamber had many back-and-forth conversations over what the painting should feature.

“One thing we wanted to do was give a nod to some of the industry in the area,” Thibeaux said.

Two of the elements Parrow is including in the mural are a train car and salmon, as the railroad and maritime industries are prevalent in the area.

As of last week, Parrow said she was pleased with how the mural was coming, although she still had about two thirds of the approximately 115-foot wall left to paint.

She said her work has already garnered a lot of interest among passers-by, and she is excited for what the project will bring to the neighborhood when it is finished.

“This neighborhood already has so much personality, and I think it will be really cool,” Parrow said. “It’s just got all the potential in the world to be amazing.”

To celebrate the project and bring further attention to the businesses off Commodore Way, the chamber is hosting a celebration and unveiling of the mural Oct. 8 through Oct. 10. During those days, people can see the mural while enjoying some music, food and brews at Dirty Couch Brewery next door.