Center Beach

“Center Beach” – Seattle Center’s “Artist at Play” Competition

client: Seattle Center
location: Seattle Center, Seattle WA | size: three acres | completion: 2013

Mindy’s proposal of “Center Beach” was a finalist for the “Artists at Play” competition for Seattle Center. (Five finalists were chosen out of 44 submittals.) The challenge was to design a play space for the 3 to 12-year old set on the old Fun Forest theme park site. Mindy presented an idea for a “sunlit” beach with highly physically interactive and inhabitable seaside paraphernalia, including a“beach umbrella” the size of half a football field, and a 18′ diameter “beach ball, both filled with swings, slides, climbers, zip lines, and other playground equipment. There was a toddler play space made of huge “melting ice cream cones”; an “ocean” water wall at day which became a stage at night; and a striped lawn “beach towel” seating area.

Center Beach! Wish you were here!

Mindy’s proposed team included: Berger Partnership, Pacific Studio, Nussbaum Group, MaryLou Iverson, Karen Braitmeyer, Woody Sullivan, and Queena Yi (who generated the computer images for the proposal).

ipad sketches

The results of Mindy playing around with this (at the time) unfamiliar tool.


August Wilson Way

August Wilson Way Portal + Street Plan

client: Seattle Center
location: Seattle Center, Seattle, WA | size: 12’ high portal, four-block long street | opened: 2009

The August Wilson Way Portal, installed behind The Rep theater on the Seattle Center campus, was the pivotal piece of what was planned to be a 4-block, pedestrian passage in honor of the American playwright, August Wilson, who wrote ten plays for each decade of 20th Century African American experience.

Mindy was hired by the Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Intiman Theater, Seattle Center, and Constanza Romero Wilson (August Wilson’s widow) to design an art piece for this site. The full street plan includes ruins of a slave ship, steel street lights (one for every play), bronze plaques, and carved granite theater seats. The red door of the existing piece “belongs” to Aunt Ester, a spirit cleanser who lives to 322 years old in Wilson’s plays. The bronze welcome mat says that we might be lost but Aunt Ester knows the way. The Portal is made of steel and weighs 3000 pounds, in deference to Wilson’s childhood in Pittsburgh and the substantial weight of his ideas.

Through Mindy’s reading of Wilson’s plays, one theme emerged, which is that we must understand our past to go healthfully into our future. The letterbox is replaced with a “stories” box so that people may virtually leave their stories and pass healthfully into their futures along August Wilson Way.

photos © Michael Cole, 2008

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Mural 


Ten years after Mindy painted a mural at Bix Supper Club in San Francisco, restauranteur Pat Kuleto asked her to paint a  mural for his new restaurant, “Villa Danelli” (named after his son) in Kuala Lumpur in what was going to be a Sheraton Hotel. The restaurant client team lived overseas and never met Mindy, although they spoke via telephone and email. That was Spring of 1996, and Mindy was pregnant with her second child, although she didn’t inform the client of that fact.

Over months, Mindy submitted various potential sketches and sent them to Malaysia. As the length of negotiations drew on (at one point, the client rep explained that he had “a bug” in his computer and he meant it literally!), and a contract was not signed by December, Mindy said that they either had to sign or call it quits. They agreed, and Mindy quickly started to paint a mural with images of everything that could go wrong in a restaurant. In February, after taking two weeks off to give birth, and with baby in tow, she returned to complete the 6′ high X 90′-long mural. She eventually rolled the completed canvases up and shipped them out about a month after her daughter’s birth.

If you look closely at the mural, you will see a happy baby crawling to the balcony edge, chased by a fast-moving mother, and also a woman going into labor, with the contents of her purse spilling into the air. (The images on this website are of the sketch and not the final mural, the latter of which has more details.)

Oakland Coliseum Mural

Oakland Coliseum Mural

late 1980s


After seeing the mural by Mindy at Bix Supper Club, a popular restaurant in San Francisco, the owners of the Oakland Coliseum contacted Mindy to potentially paint a mural for their new building. Knowing that the arena would be used for various professional athletics (sometimes referred to as “sports ball” by people who do not thoroughly appreciate the nuances of professional sports), Mindy decided to abstract the idea into sections, of Before, During, and After the game. She gave them three versions of this tai-part mural; one was “artistic”, another was abstract, and another was realistic. She was inspired by depictions of classical Greek and Roman athletes. The owners decided that they didn’t want images of naked men and Mindy’s murals were never actualized, but she was happy to have her head in that game for a while.


Bix Supper Club Mural

client: Douglas Biederbeck through Limn Architects 

location: San Francisco, CA | size: 10′-6″ x 31′-6″ | opened: 1988


Mindy was looking to change jobs as an architect and she was shopping around. Her portfolio was a mix of architectural design projects and art. When the architects for Bix Supper Club saw her work, they asked if she wanted to paint a mural for the new restaurant they were designing in the location of the old San Francisco assay office. Mindy readily agreed. They explained that the place would be like a speakeasy where the maître d’ would recognize you and know your favorite cocktail and where an elegantly-dressed woman might throw a drink in her date’s face.

Mindy painted the mural on canvas in three parts: left as a riotous kitchen, middle as dance floor, and right as people crowding the alley to get in. For style, the client wanted Reginald Marsh, and Mindy wanted Max Beckmann. When it was done, she strapped it all to the top of a friend’s Volkswagen bus and drove it carefully across town. And, yes, characters in the painting were inspired by her friends and family, and there are hidden messages.


The bar with gorgeous mural. – comment on Yelp

Jordan Pond House

Jordan Pond House – School Project

On Mount Desert Island in Maine, there is a beautiful, secluded site where the Jordan Pond House existed before it burned down in the late 70s. Kyu Sung Woo was Mindy’s teacher at MIT and he gave his students the project to redesign the beloved place. Mindy designed an earth-bermed main building so that you arrive in the woods, walk on a natural path through a row of trees, and emerge with a view of the pond. From there, all you see of any human-built elements are what look to be sculptures in the landscape (items which are actually vents and chimneys). Only once you walk along the natural slope of the landscape and look back do you realize that the sculpture garden was actually the roof of the building.



Cibachrome Portraits

When Mindy was at MIT studying architecture, Cibachrome photography was in its infancy. It was a process in which you would put exposed paper into a dark barrel to develop a photographic image. At Mindy’s disposal there was a large, old-fashioned piece of discarded equipment that had been used to produce magazine photos; a machine that was resurrected by her inventive teacher Ron MacNeil. The equipment was about fifteen feet long and weighed about three tons. On this apparatus, Mindy set up a backdrop (using a checkerboard and Scientific American cover) and posed her friends on the machine, asking them to move to a timer in a direction she chose. Then, she played with the images by stopping parts of them in the negative, over bleaching other parts, scratching on the photo paper surfaces, and in one case, introducing a collage. Her teacher praised her for the images and effort (he is nice and positive guy), but advised her that she was not being very scientific about it, since she could not easily replicate the results. Still, Mindy produced five one-of-a-kind pieces.

Parma, Italy

Parma Italy Plaza – School Project


This was an MIT graduate school project led by the guest architect, Giancarlo de Carlo. For this effort, Mindy took advantage of experimenting with various (non-computer) 2-D media. The challenge presented was to make something of the ruins of a church in Parma, Italy. Mindy’s design added an over-scaled, inhabitable staircase, garden, glass roof, water elements, and tower that incorporated the excavated ruins into contemporary use. Her intention was that this would become a location for outdoor concerts and other private and public events, making a connection between past and present. The ruins would become a place of repose, perspective, and contemplation.