Richard Tracy, RichArt's Art Yard (Richard's Ruins)
Centralia, Washington, 98531, United States
About the Artist/Site
Richard Tracy and his younger sister grew up in Yakima, WA brought up by their divorced mother. He studied art at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, earning his teaching certificate and eventually meeting his wife Pat. In the late 1960s Tracy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and briefly lived as a resident at the Western State Hospital. He has managed his condition, however, and taught in the Yakima, Sequim, and Olympia school districts (including ten years at Lincoln Elementary School) before working as a janitor for thirty years in a Yard Birds hardware store in Yakima.
Around 1984 Tracy met Dick Elliott, the creator-builder of Dick and Jane’s Spot in Ellensburg; this inspired him to begin to create his own environment that wrapped around his house in Centralia. Although he also created smaller discrete pieces that are located on the interior, most of the works, fabricated and assembled from a variety of discards and recycled materials, were arranged around the exterior of his home. There were abstract constructions as well as figurative works, many monumental in scale. Metal, wood, and Styrofoam formed the base of many of his sculptures.
RichArt was particularly attracted by the number 5, and stated that all of his work was made from materials costing $5 or less, and finished in five hours or less. When his site was at its finest, he offered 5-minute tours (or 55-minute tours if you paid him $5), and 55-minute art classes where visitors could create their own works of art from recycled materials. And although he had said that his will stipulates that within five days of his death his entire site would be demolished within five hours, as of summer 2013, he has already begun actively dismantling the site and very little remains.
~Jo Farb Hernández
SPACES Archives Holdings
Map & Site Information
Centralia, Washington, 98531 us
Latitude/Longitude: 46.716214 / -122.954297
Port Townsend, Washington