Media Contacts:
Michael Wallenfels
Communications Manager
ArtsWA/The Washington State Arts Commission

Debbie Preston

Director, Nisqually Tribe Communications & Media Services

Nisqually Indian Tribe

[email protected]

360-456-5221 x1341

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2024 | View as Webpage

Billy Frank Jr. statue to be completed at SPSCC in newly announced partnership

Representatives from Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA), and South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) gather with artist Haiying Wu. The full-scale model of the statue of Billy Frank Jr. in this photo is machine-carved Styrofoam, which Wu will coat with clay to develop the artwork's final details. Photo by Debbie Preston, Nisqually Communications & Media Services.

OLYMPIA, WA – ArtsWA and the Nisqually Indian Tribe have partnered with South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) to host artist Haiying Wu as he completes a statue of Billy Frank Jr. for National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. Wu will work on the 9'-tall statue of the late Nisqually leader and treaty rights activist in the scene shop of SPSCC's Drama program, where students and members of the community will be invited to watch the artist at work.

"I am making a historical piece, and I want to make it the best that it can be," said artist Haiying Wu, who was selected for the project in 2023. "It's important for Nisqually, it's important for the Washington State Arts Commission, and it's important for the state of Washington."

Wu will begin his work in March 2024, embarking on an estimated four-month project based in SPSCC’s Scene Shop in the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts (Building 21, Olympia Campus). The space will be open for the public to observe and participate in Wu’s work.

After the 9-foot model is completed, it will be cast in bronze before the final statues are installed in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. and one in the Olympia Capitol in 2025.

"With public art projects, there's usually a deadline - which means there are usually regrets," said Wu, who has made public artworks in the U.S.A. and China. "I don't want any regrets with this piece."

At a ceremony on March 8, Nisqually Tribal members visited Wu's future workspace and blessed the area where he will complete work on the full-scale statue.

"We want to bless this space and send our prayers for this project so that it goes forward in a good way," said Antonette Squally, Vice Chairman of the Nisqually Tribe. "It is a tradition to bless the floor before important ceremonies and events."


"Having this at SPSCC brings everyone together to see this work and learn about my father's lifelong activism for treaty rights as well as the importance of habitat for salmon," said Nisqually Chairman Willie Frank III.

"It creates community and that's what he did his whole life - brought people together to create change that we can't do alone. We will always need new salmon warriors from every walk of life."

Public hours and information to visit Wu’s workspace at SPSCC will be available soon.

About Nisqually Indian Tribe

The Nisqually Indian Tribe is a sovereign nation located on the Nisqually River with more than 800 enrolled tribal members. The tribe employs 1,500 tribal and non-tribal people in government and its enterprises under their Medicine Creek Enterprise Corporation. The tribe has worked to protect and restore the land throughout their traditional territory from Mount Rainier to the mouth of the Nisqually River and continue to do that work just as Billy Frank Jr. did throughout his life. For more information, visit

About ArtsWA


ArtsWA is the Washington State Arts Commission, a state government agency established in 1961. ArtsWA works to be a catalyst for the arts, advancing the role of the arts in the lives of individuals and communities throughout the state. Programs include Art in Public Places, Arts in Education, Grants to Organizations, and other special projects. For more information, visit

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