DESIGNER(S): Courtney Ferris


If you appreciate the 'Public Displays of Affection (PDA)’ proposal, you can make a virtual vote by sharing a link to this page on your preferred social media platform. We are tracking each project proposal page on the back end and will give a special 'Popular Vote Grant' for $500 to the project that has been shared the most by September 16th.


ESTIMATED COST: Grant funding would go towards any required temporary use permits and installation materials. Following interviews and evaluation and curation of the stories, care would be given to divide funding across the most number of stories able to be told given the location, impact, and needed materials.

TIMELINE: Planning and development for the project will happen in late 2015 and early 2016 with interviews happening in early Spring 2016. Installation would happen in Summer 2016.


Public Displays of Affection (PDA) connects people to place through written interventions located throughout Seattle. From the streets and buildings, to the parks, cafes, and alleyways, cities are the backdrops to everyday experiences and are powerful collectors of stories that often go untold. Sharing these stories gives insight into the past and present and provide context for the future. Part journalistic exploration, part urban intervention, PDA is a series of public art installations that creates reflective moments throughout the city that encourages an awareness and participation towards a thoughtful urban evolution.


Seattle is a city in the midst of a renaissance. By 2035, Seattle is expected to grow by 120,000 people and the city is in a race to keep up with the growing demand for housing and jobs. Yet as we plan our future at a frenzied pace, it is more important than ever to take a step back and acknowledge the reason for building cities, which is to create wonderful spaces for people to live and interact. PDA does its part in making this happen by highlighting untold stories that emphasize the relationship between people and place in influencing human connections. From the mundane to the extraordinary, cities set the stage for interactions to happen – whether it’s jostling between people to navigate a narrow sidewalk to the man on the boardwalk proposing to his high school sweetheart, experiences are shaped by the spaces we create. Sharing these moments deepens the connection between people and places because narratives not only help us to engage with the world, but also give us a sense of attachment and investment in the kit of parts that comprise the story. From the young urban newcomer to the forty-year homeowner alike, PDA will give a glimpse into others memorable experiences, highlighting the role of the city in supporting these interactions. As Seattle rapidly evolves and reconfigures itself, PDA hopes to highlight the value of continuing to design spaces that support its predominant asset – its people.


PDA proposes to conduct a series of interviews throughout Seattle, collecting quotes and short stories that are specifically curated to highlight the role of space in shaping and influencing interactions and experiences. This information will then become the subject for a series of installations that inscribe the story at or near the location it happened. The way an experience is represented will depend on the information gleaned from each interview, but could mean temporarily taking over a window display, a stretch of sidewalk, or the face of a blank wall as the canvas in which to paint or project a written description of people’s experiences. One focus would be on placing installations in the public realm at locations that are highly visible by foot and allow for people to stop, read, and reflect on the role of their surroundings.