The Fin Project:  From Swords Into Plowshares

The Fin Project: From Swords Into Plowshares

Where is it?

Warren G. Magnuson Park


7400 Sand Point Way NE
WA 98115

About the Artwork

Black whale fins appear to glide over a grassy area overlooking Lake Washington. However, upon closer inspection this large pod of Orca whales is actually a grouping of twenty-two decommissioned diving plane fins from 1960s U.S. Navy attack submarines installed as an artwork by artist John Young.

The fins, each weighing 10,000 pounds, are placed at various angles and heights effectively creating a dynamic sense of movement, turning the earth at Magnuson Park into a substitute body of water.




High-tensile steel fused to syntactic foam; carboline mb 133 satin black paint; concrete


12' X 300' X 500'

Funding Source

Gift to the city of Seattle by the artist and the Swords into Plowshares Corporation, Max Gurich, benefactor; U.S. Navy








John T. Young

Artist Statement

The work is a testament not only to the power of ecologically sound practices but also a statement regarding the transformation of the implements of war into the beauty of art. Additionally, as the artist points out, the artwork "represents a significant amount of the national deficit being returned to the people for their enjoyment and appreciation."

Did you know?

In 1996, artist John T. Young was approached by Brian Zetlen, President of Seattle Scientific, about finding an artistic use for the decommissioned diving plane fins from U.S. navy nuclear submarines. The artist developed a concept for "The Fin Project: From Swords to Plowshares" and working with philanthropist Max Gurvich formulated a fundraising strategy and offered the artwork as a gift to the City of Seattle. The artist reviewed a series of potential sites and consulted with City commissions and community groups in the process of refining the artwork and its location.