James FitzGerald’s sculpture, Rain Forest was installed in 1960 and was Western’s first outdoor public work. FitzGerald exhibited his work on a national basis, and received commissions during the 1960s as far away as Princeton University. His work is widely recognized in the Northwest and can be seen in public areas, such as the courtyard of the Seattle Center Playhouse, inside the Seattle Public Library, and IBM Plaza, and at the Seattle Waterfront Park.
Similar to other FitzGerald sculptures, Rain Forest refers to the nature of the Northwest. With their bark-like pattern in bronze, the structures could represent standing and fallen trees. The soft trickle of the water echoes the light rain pattern persistent in the Northwest.
Within the bronze work of the horizontal structure are screens with calligraphic patterns reminiscent of the Far East. As many Northwest artists of his generation of the 1940s and 1950s, FitzGerald evoked in his work the close connection between our region, China and Japan.