Maine Artists Lose $1 Million Contract For Seattle Convention Center Installation

Oct 27, 2020

The pandemic has cost two Maine artists a million-dollar public art project.

Wade Kavanaugh and his children work on a public art installation at his studio.
Credit Wade Kavanaugh

Wade Kavanaugh says the commission — a sculpture for the Seattle Convention Center — was canceled this month after a year of preparation. He says the project would have been a career breakthrough for him and his creative partner Stephen B. Nguyen.

“It was a gut-wrench for us. The Seattle project was a huge breakthrough for our career,” he says. “I think both Steve and I realized shortly after the cancellation how emotionally invested we were in making the work.”

The artists learned this month that the project would be canceled due to lost revenue projections resulting from the pandemic.

Kavanaugh and Nguyen say they’re considering trying to produce the project closer to home, possibly in rural Maine.