A Sculpture Park is Born
Seattle is all a-buzz about its new Olympic Sculpture Park, and for good reason. This public space in the Belltown neighborhood is the first in Seattle to have the potential for the grand quality of New York's Central Park, or the Tuilleries of Paris. It is a large space in the center of the city, designed for walking, that has beauty unto itself and shows off the beauty of the city that is its home. Entrance is free and it is open every day of the year.
Above: Looking west, past Calder's "Eagle," toward Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains - The park's name sake.
I say "potential", as the park in many ways is nascent. The landscaping is in its infancy, and the art collection (although already a great range of sculptural styles and concepts) remains small relative to the expanse of the nine acre site. In fact, although the park opened a couple weeks ago, parts remain under construction. Not only will the collection flesh out, but it will constantly evolve, with pieces appearing and others disappearing over time.
Above: Richard Serra's, "Wake"
Although there are aspects of the Park that are similar to the great urban parks of other cities, there are some significant differences too. The Olympic Sculpture Park is very modern, not classic, in its design. It was also not part of the original or early plans for the city. This place was reclaimed from industrial use and winds its way over and around both a major city street and train tracks.
Additionally, great efforts were put into environmental restoration of the site, including the restoration of part of the shoreline of Puget sound.
Right: "Split," by Roxy Paine
It seems every aspect of the park was thoughtfully considered, from the site, landscape, architectural, and collection design, to details such as the compostable serving ware at the cafe (which has a lovely selection of tasty, "picnic-able" food) and an acknowledgement of the displacement of homeless folks who had lived on the old industrial grounds.
2901 Western Avenue, Seattle
Although the park is open every day, the Pavilion, which houses the gift shop, cafe, restrooms and garage, is closed on the following holidays:
Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, 2007
Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22, 2007
Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 2007
Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25, 2007
New Year's Eve, Monday, December 31, 2007
New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2008
May 1–September 30: 6 a.m.–9 p.m. daily
October 1–April 30: 7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily
May 1–September 30 Closed MondaysTuesday–Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.Friday: 10 a.m.– 9 p.m.
October 1–April 30Closed MondaysTuesday–Sunday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Pay parking is available in the Pavilion garage. The entrance to the parking garage is on Broad Street. Open Daily from 6 a.m.–10 p.m. No overnight parking.
Rates: 0–2 Hours $62–4 Hours $12All Day $22
Metered parking is available on Western Avenue and Alaskan Way.
Allowed on leash in the park, but not in the pavillion (except, of course, service dogs).