A giant troll sculpture in Breckenridge, Colo., by Danish environmental artist Thomas Dambo, who will build six such characters across the Pacific Northwest this summer. (Scan Design Foundation Photo)

Seattle’s famous Fremont Troll and the Seattle Kraken’s blue-haired mascot Buoy are going to get some company this summer when six giant hand-built Nordic troll characters come to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

A public exhibition titled “Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King” will feature work by Danish environmental artist and storyteller Thomas Dambo. Beginning in August, the art will stretch across sites from Washington’s Puget Sound region to Portland.

The project is being managed by the Seattle-based Scan Design Foundation, a private organization founded in 2002 to honor the legacy of Inger and Jens Bruun and advance Danish-American relations by supporting cultural exchanges focused on environmental sustainability.

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization created by the late Microsoft co-founder and his sister, Jody Allen, is helping to fund the project. Media partners include the Embassy of Denmark, Visit Seattle, and Washington State Tourism.

“This project celebrates the human experience of art and the connection between Coast Salish tribal communities, Danish and Scandinavian traditions, and our shared value of environmental stewardship,” said Cat Martin, arts and communities program director at the Allen Foundation. “It uses the power of storytelling to engage people of all ages to learn about the environment and the steps we can all take to better preserve and protect it.”

A troll sculpture in Belgium. (Scan Design Foundation Photo)

Dambo’s larger-than-life troll sculptures have been installed in 100 locations around the world. The interactive works are built with recycled materials and are meant to “tell a tale of protecting nature and honoring the land and waterways,” according to a news release.

A companion map and app will be released to help the public locate each troll in West Seattle, Ballard, Issaquah, Bainbridge and Vashon Islands, and Portland. Specific site locations will only be revealed at the conclusion of each build process, between Aug. 1 and Sept. 17. The sculptures will be hosted at each site for at least three years.

The troll installations will rely on local volunteers who help complete the sculptures, from disassembling and cutting wooden pallets, screwing and hammering parts, clearing brush, and making meals for the crew. Because the trolls will be located on traditional Coast Salish territories, the project is working closely with the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes.

“I want people to know that trash has value. My trolls do that, and also help me tell stories, like the legends I grew up with,” Dambo said in a statement. “In nature, there is no landfill. Nature is circular, everything has a meaning and everything is recycled.”

A troll sculpture in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Scan Design Foundation Photo)
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