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Olympic Sculpture Park

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One of the highlights of my trip to Seattle was taking an early morning photo jog from downtown over to—and through—the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park. Designed by Weiss/Manfredi and completed in January 2007, the park mitigates the 40-vertical-foot difference between the residential neighborhood along Western Avenue and the waterfront below. The zig-zagging design is speckled with sculptures by artists like Alexander Calder and Richard Serra and earlier this year earned our approval as a city park "Done Right."

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  I approached the park from the south, jogging past the Edgewater Hotel and Port of Seattle along Alaskan Way, and entered at the southwest corner, with the slope—and the Space Needle—to my left.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    I approached the park from the south, jogging past the Edgewater Hotel and Port of Seattle along Alaskan Way, and entered at the southwest corner, with the slope—and the Space Needle—to my left.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  The train continued along the water and the Elliot Bay Trail, which leads to—and through—Myrtle Edwards Park. The park comprises four representative Northwest landscapes, the lowest being the Shore.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    The train continued along the water and the Elliot Bay Trail, which leads to—and through—Myrtle Edwards Park. The park comprises four representative Northwest landscapes, the lowest being the Shore.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  A ways down the path, I turned back to admire Mark di Suvero's Schubert Sonata sculpture, constructed in 1992 out of painted and unpainted steel.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    A ways down the path, I turned back to admire Mark di Suvero's Schubert Sonata sculpture, constructed in 1992 out of painted and unpainted steel.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Turning to my right and up the path, I ascended up the path to the outlook toward downtown Seattle. Below the cantilevered viewing platform are Louise Bourgeois's Eye Benches as well as her Father and Son fountain.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Turning to my right and up the path, I ascended up the path to the outlook toward downtown Seattle. Below the cantilevered viewing platform are Louise Bourgeois's Eye Benches as well as her Father and Son fountain.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Turning around to continue on my—at this point—photo walk, I stood under the Seattle Cloud Cover by Teresita Fernández for protection from the light mist. The laminated glass artwork extends across the bridge that leads pedestrians over the railroad below. The graphic design distorts the scenery behind the artwork but offers moments of clarity through the clear circles printed in a grid throughout.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Turning around to continue on my—at this point—photo walk, I stood under the Seattle Cloud Cover by Teresita Fernández for protection from the light mist. The laminated glass artwork extends across the bridge that leads pedestrians over the railroad below. The graphic design distorts the scenery behind the artwork but offers moments of clarity through the clear circles printed in a grid throughout.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  After crossing the bridge, I arrived on the Meadows, a section of the park planted with native grasses and flowers. Though it is here that Alexander Calder's Eagle proudly stands, the bright-red chairs set along the path is what caught my eye the most—especially those placed looking out toward the Puget Sound and with their backs to the aged-yet-still-iconic Space Needle.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    After crossing the bridge, I arrived on the Meadows, a section of the park planted with native grasses and flowers. Though it is here that Alexander Calder's Eagle proudly stands, the bright-red chairs set along the path is what caught my eye the most—especially those placed looking out toward the Puget Sound and with their backs to the aged-yet-still-iconic Space Needle.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Just after the next turn in the Z-path, a small path cuts off to the left. I've always been fascinated by walkways and and glad I followed my curiosity down this lane.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Just after the next turn in the Z-path, a small path cuts off to the left. I've always been fascinated by walkways and and glad I followed my curiosity down this lane.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  The little path lead down to the Valley, the section of the park meant to represent the forests of the Northwest and their fir, cedar, and ferns.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    The little path lead down to the Valley, the section of the park meant to represent the forests of the Northwest and their fir, cedar, and ferns.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Once entering the top of the valley, the path forked again and offered a walk to the right toward the PACCAR Pavilion or steps straight ahead to Richard Serra's Wake installation. I first turned right, captivated by Beverly Pepper's sculpture titled Perre's Ventaglio III and made of stainless steel and enamel in 1967. Here you can see the pavilion in the background.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Once entering the top of the valley, the path forked again and offered a walk to the right toward the PACCAR Pavilion or steps straight ahead to Richard Serra's Wake installation. I first turned right, captivated by Beverly Pepper's sculpture titled Perre's Ventaglio III and made of stainless steel and enamel in 1967. Here you can see the pavilion in the background.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Next, I turned back, hopped down the stairs to the base of the Valley and wandered through Serra's gigantic sculpture. The focused views ahead and upward combined the sensations of being lost in a forest and squeezed between the towering building of a city.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Next, I turned back, hopped down the stairs to the base of the Valley and wandered through Serra's gigantic sculpture. The focused views ahead and upward combined the sensations of being lost in a forest and squeezed between the towering building of a city.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Under protection of the cantilevered roof of the PACCAR Pavilion, it was again the red chairs on the stepped, outdoor amphitheater—as well as Calder's sculpture that matched—that caught my attention. From the distance, Serra's sculpture appears much smaller.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Under protection of the cantilevered roof of the PACCAR Pavilion, it was again the red chairs on the stepped, outdoor amphitheater—as well as Calder's sculpture that matched—that caught my attention. From the distance, Serra's sculpture appears much smaller.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Finally I arrived at the top of the park on corner of Western Avenue and Broad Street. Although I could have spent all day examining the many corners of the twisty-turvy park, the weather made me happy to leave. Before you visit the park yourself, visit the Seattle Art Museum's wonderful website for a tour of the sculptures on view and print out this map of what you'll see to take with you. Happy Trails.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Finally I arrived at the top of the park on corner of Western Avenue and Broad Street. Although I could have spent all day examining the many corners of the twisty-turvy park, the weather made me happy to leave. Before you visit the park yourself, visit the Seattle Art Museum's wonderful website for a tour of the sculptures on view and print out this map of what you'll see to take with you. Happy Trails.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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