Since burying the Lincoln Reservoir, the gatehouse in Cal Anderson Park hasn’t served any real functional purpose for decades. Before last year, it was a historic landmark and popular tagging target.

That’s when The Gatehouse pilot project started, taking students in the Out of School Time program at Washington Middle School, many having never taken an art class, and providing them the opportunity to create artwork for the window niches; those were boarded up more than three decade ago due to constant vandalism.

The first student-produced art pieces were featured on the gatehouse last May. A second round of art pieces were installed last month.

Marcia Iwasaki, project manager with the city’s public art program in the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, went before the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board Wednesday, Feb. 1, where she received unanimous support to keep The Gatehouse project going.

Iwasaki told the landmarks board a change in the school schedule last September reduced the time students had to work with an art teacher from 2 1/2 hours to around one hour each week for 10 weeks.

“By the time you get the art supplies out, it’s time to clean up,” she said.

Henry Luke was brought in to join artist Nate Herth for the program during its second iteration.

The artwork created by Washington Middle School students was slated to remain on the gatehouse through May, but Iwasaki was granted permission by the landmarks board on Wednesday to keep it up until a third installation is ready next year.

Iwasaki said Seattle Public Utilities reports a significant decrease in tagging of the gatehouse, at least where student artwork is featured. 

Landmarks board member Jeffrey Murdock lauded The Gatehouse project as a great matchup of art, preservation and supporting underserved Seattle students.

“It’s a sparkling idea of what we should be doing, I think,” he said.