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Seattle Center boasts many public works of art on our campus, reflecting our mission to delight and inspire and display the creativity and artists of the region.

August Wilson Way Portal

Mindy Lehman Cameron. 2008 Outside Seattle Rep at Warren Street The 12-foot monument that honors celebrated playwright August Wilson, features an historical timeline of the many plays he premiered at nearby Seattle Repertory Theatre.

An Equal and Opposite Reaction

Sarah Sze. 2005 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall New York artist Sarah Sze created An Equal and Opposite Reaction, suspended in the grand lobby of McCaw Hall, home to Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Each section of the suspended sculpture is constructed of hollow aluminum bars, filled with highly articulated fabricated parts and found objects, such as pushpins, rulers, zip ties, ladders, extension cords, industrial clamps, faux flowers, and tape measures. The vortex structure of the work sweeps the viewer's gaze up into the space above. The artwork was built by Seattle Opera Scenic Studios, one of the most innovative scene shops in the country, and Sze realized the importance of having her sculpture in the hands of a team with technological expertise and artistic acumen. Funded by Seattle Center 1% for Art.

Baby Whale Tail Neotoems Children's Garden

Gloria Bornstein. 2002 East of Seattle Children’s Theatre Gloria Bornstein based the concept of the Neototems Children's Garden on a Native American legend of whales swimming underground, connecting the salt water of Elliott Bay with the fresh water of Lake Union. The whale whose tail appears in the Children's Garden is part of a pod represented in Bornstein's first Seattle Center sculpture Neototems (1995) which features two large bronze whales located on the west side of the International Fountain. The Neototems Children's Garden is a maze of paths through landscaped gardens leading to a bronze, five-foot tall baby whale tail fountain enhanced by water cascading down the rounded lip of the tail, mimicking a breaching or surfacing whale. The gardens surrounding the figure provide a place of discovery for children, including a series of "tidal pool" sculptures featuring small bronzes of a seahorse, an octopus, a flying pig, a hermit crab, and a family of three blowfish. Funded by Seattle Center 1% Percent for Art.

Berlin Wall

Artists unknown. 1961 Located inside Armory Food Hall A three-ton portion of the wall that once divided Berlin, Germany, donated by German businessman Achim Becker in 1990. It originally stood at Potsdamer Platz / Checkpoint Charly. At 12.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide, it weighs about 8000 pounds.

Bird Song Listening Station

Doug Taylor. 2008 Fisher Pavilion Rooftop Bird Song Listening Station is a kinetic sculpture that harnesses the renewable energy sources of wind and sunlight to power an interactive listening station. The breezes that fill and turn the sculpture's three 15-foot steel and polyester sails create energy to operate a small generator that supplies power to the sculpture's audio components. Participants activate the nearby listening station by standing beneath its sound dome and pressing the "play" button. A digital recording of calling songs taken from a variety of western finches fills the dome. The dome references the western plane trees that grow near the sculpture site, a common source for the seeds the finches feed upon during the autumn months. Solar panels mounted on the artwork act as a back-up when there isn't sufficient wind to turn the sails. Funded by Seattle Center 1% for Art.

Black Lightning

Ronald Bladen. 1981 Broad Street Green This striking monumental sculpture stands in the shadow of the Space Needle, its simple z-shape outlining the iconic form of lightning. Sharp edges formed from the juncture of acute angles create alternating planes of light and shadow, animating the black steel bolt with the flicker of contrasting illumination. The sculpture is supported by two polygonal bases reminiscent, in their angular solidity, of blacksmith's anvils. Bladen described Black Lightning as "mainly a visual experience," a statement strengthened by the play of light, shadow and space that the massive sculpture evokes by means of simple shapes and basic black. Funded by Seattle Center 1% for Art and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Children's Middle East Peace Sculpture

Sabah Al-Dhaher, 2003 Peace Garden The Peace Garden, located in the southeast portion of campus near the base of the Space Needle, boasts several works of art, including this one, speaking to the hope of everlasting peace in the Middle East. The artwork is a graceful twist of Italian marble about 30 x 8 inches standing atop a natural column of black basalt. It depicts two rectangular leaves, very much alike yet different in texture. They are intertwining and reaching toward the sky. Peace is engraved in Arabic, English and Hebrew along with the names of Arabic & Jewish participating children. It was dedicated on Children’s Peace Day, October 23, 2003.

The China Mural

Pacific Arts Center, Anne Gould Hauberg, Chair & Seattle Public Schools. 1984 Armory North Entrance atrium With funding from Washington State, King County, and Seattle Arts Commissions, this series of ceramic wall hangings was made by students at Green Lake, Madrona, Montlake, and University Heights Alternative Elementary Schools, along with Seattle High School apprentices. Coordinating artist was Maggie Smith, Poet-in-Residence was Paul Hansen.

Dreaming In Color

Leni Schwendinger. 2001 Kreielsheimer Promenade by Marion Oliver McCaw Hall Dreaming in Color consists of programmed lighting projected onto and through nine large-scale metal mesh scrims that frame the promenade between Phelps Center and McCaw Hall. The five programmed light sequences cycle through slowly changing color to reflect various moods. With this work of art, Schwendinger builds upon Color Field painting and color theory explorations, and expands on the concept with the aid of new materials and technology. From afar, each scrim is a bright wash of color, but as the viewer walks toward and eventually beneath each scrim, the color slowly vanishes from sight. The intensity of color is also affected by how many scrims are seen by the viewer from their position - a greater number of scrims increase the intensity of color. The result is an interactive piece that constantly changes with the passage of time and visitors' numerous vantage points. In July of 2017, with support from Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, the lighting was replaced with an LED-based system in order to be more energy efficient. The fixtures were specified by Leni Schwendinger, who returned to create new sequences in fall of 2017. Funded by Seattle Center 1% for Art.

DuPen Sculpture Collection at McCaw Hall

The sculptures in the beloved DuPen fountain are stored away for the arena renovation, but Everett DuPen’s work is now represented in McCaw Hall. Visitors can view the largest, Form in Linear Movement, from the exterior promenade as they walk past McCaw Hall. The other three sculptures, Singers, Dancers and Pas de Deux are in the upper lobbies. The sculptures are a gift from the DuPen Family Foundation to Seattle Center Foundation, with funding for moving and installation provided by the McCaw Hall Operating Board. The four bronze artworks include: Dancers (1940), Singers (1939-40), Form in Linear Movement (1974) and Pas de Duex (1976).

Feminine One

Inspired by David Lemon. 1950. In 1960, Seattle architect Victor Steinbrueck was hired by John Graham & Company to work toward the final design concepts for the centerpiece of the 1962 Century 21 World's Fair, the Space Needle. Steinbrueck found his inspiration for the tower's standing form in a small wooden sculpture by artist David Lemon, called "Feminine One." Lemon's work, the inspiration for this bronze sculpture, abstractly depicts a dancer in motion, with three legs rising to a narrow waist and arms reaching upward. In Steinbrueck's sketch, the dancing figure became three figures leaning back together, giving the Space Needle its iconic form. Commissioned by and on loan from the family of Howard S. Wright.

Grass Blades

John Fleming. 2002 Harrison Street Entrance The vibrant colors of Grass Blades act as a marker to Seattle Center’s Harrison Street Entrance. The silver bellows of Frank Gehry’s MoPOP Museum create a quiet background while the iconic Space Needle marks Seattle’s center. This 150-foot long and surprisingly flexible screen wall draws people into the Center and park day and night. The artwork received an AIA award and has become an iconic and popular photo opportunity for the Center, Commissioned by Seattle Center.

Human Forms in Balance

Rita Kepner. 1975 This stone sculpture is located in the east entrance to the Armory, by Center Theatre.

John T. Williams Honor Pole

Rick L. Williams (lead artist, working with community). 2012 Broad Street Green North The John T. Williams Memorial Pole was erected to raise awareness of the traditions, history, and culture of Seattle’s native populations. Williams, a First Nations woodcarver, was fatally shot by a Seattle police officer in August 2010. Williams was carrying a knife and a piece of wood when he was shot. Carved by Williams’ family and friends, the 34-foot pole includes depictions of a perched eagle, mother raven and a figure of a woodcarver.

Kobe Bell

Unknown. 1962 Near the south wall of Cornish Playhouse Housed within a small, traditional temple pagoda, the cylindrical Kobe Bell is a tribute to the goodwill and friendship fostered by Seattle's sister-city partnership with Kobe, Japan. The partnership was formed in the decades following World War II, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called upon municipal governments to reach out to cities around the world in order to develop ties with both traditional friends and recent enemies. Seattle Mayor Gordon Clinton and a committee of citizens extended an invitation to Kobe, Japan based on its rich history as a seaport and historical commitment to the arts. In 1957, Kobe's Mayor Haraguchi accepted, forming Seattle's first sister-city relationship. In 1962, when Seattle hosted the World's Fair, Kobe sent the wooden structure and cast bronze bell as a commemorative gift. The bell is richly ornamented with bands punctuated by rosettes partitioning its surface. Bronze studs and a curled dragon decorate the upper portion, while bas-relief designs of drum- and flute-playing Japanese gods adorn the lower portions. The middle section contains a dedication written in both Japanese and English: "Presented by the People of Kobe to the People of Seattle as a Symbol of Friendship. May this bell ring forever signifying friendship between the nations of the United States and Japan."

Moon Gates

Doris Chase. 1999 Broad Street Green Moon Gates by Doris Chase is an abstract group of three bronze sculptures that plays with oppositions inspired by space and form. Two sculptures with convex surfaces, one rhomboid and one ovoid, are each pierced by a circular hole. The concave surface of the third sculpture also contains a round void at its center, but its missing piece can be found attached to the top of the sculpture on a bearing that allows it to rotate. The juxtaposition of positive and negative spaces with circular and rectangular forms creates a dynamism that stimulates the mind and invites the viewer to sit, stand and play among the forms. Moon Gates was a gift to the City of Seattle.

Moses

Tony Smith. 1975 Broad Street Green Tony Smith's abstract sculpture is a collection of oblique planes and geometric volumes united to create a multifaceted surface in black steel. The artwork gets its name from the parallel upright forms that suggest horns in Michelangelo's Moses. His representation came from a mistranslation of a Hebrew word that described Moses as having rays of light coming from his head. The Seattle Art Museum's Contemporary Art Council first commissioned a plywood mock-up of Moses in 1968 for an exhibition planned for their Art Museum Pavilion. This temporary model was exhibited each of the following years at Bumbershoot until 1972. At that time, the Art in Public Places Committee recommended to the Seattle Arts Commission that a permanent version of Moses be created in steel. Upon its installation in 1975, the sculpture became the first major public art acquisition under Seattle's 1% for Art program. Funded by Seattle Center 1 % for Art, Contemporary Arts Council, Virginia Wright Fund, National Endowment for the Arts and AIA - Seattle Chapter.

Neon for Bagley Wright Theatre

Stephen Antonakos. 1983 Bagley Wright Theater (Seattle Rep) facade Artist Stephen Antonakos' red neon arabesques, dashed lines and right angles seem to float across the top of the Bagley Wright Theatre. Their lively geometry acts as an effective counterpoint to the formal symmetry of the building's façade—a front elevation punctuated by a series of green bands ranging in hue from pale sage to bright apple. Deep burgundy joints delineate each shift in shade, creating a subtle foil to the green façade, a contrast emphasized by the cherry red glow of the neon. The medium itself also plays with the stylized patterns formed from neon tubing used on the old fashioned marquees of Broadway theaters—a design choice that evokes the rich tradition of the American stage. Funded by a Seattle Center Bond and Seattle Arts Commission 1% for Art.

Neotoems

Gloria Bornstein. 1995 International Fountain Two bronze whales, a mother and her calf, appear to swim through the lawn bordering Seattle Center's International Fountain, their backs cresting above concrete pavers inlaid to resemble the surface patterns of water. The smooth, broad backs of the animals are near-life size, heightening the sense that the whales are indeed traveling beneath Center grounds. This imagery evokes a Native American myth of an ancient underground spring located nearby that allowed whales to travel between Elliot Bay and Lake Union. The myth, written in both English and Lushootseed (Salish Native American language), is inlaid in bronze letters on the cast-concrete tail of the mother whale. The whales interact directly with their surroundings, merging with the visitor's environment and encouraging people to walk and play among them. Funded by Seattle Center Levy 1% for Art and construction funds.

Olympic Illiad

Alexander Liberman. 1984 West of the Space Needle Alexander Liberman's largest sculpture, Olympic Iliad, is a monumental agglomeration of steel cylinders located on the lawn surrounding the Space Needle. Liberman, known for his use of industrially manufactured materials, used giant steel cylinders cut at varying angles and lengths, painted them an industrial red and assembled them to form an immense structure than one can walk around and underneath. A similar artwork of Liberman's, Iliad, can be found at the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York. Olympic Iliad was funded through private contributions, Seattle Center 1% for Art, and the Seattle Center Foundation.

Peace Pole

1996 Located in the Peace Garden. One of hundreds of such poles located around the world by the Goi Peace Foundation of Tokyo, depicting the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in multiple languages.

Queue VI

William Sildar. 1975 Laminated wood structure, located in the Armory north entrance lobby.

Seattle Center Totem

Duane Pasco with Victor Mowatt and Earl Muldon. 1970 SW corner of Seattle Center Armory The Seattle Center Totem is a 30-foot-high pole carved in the Pacific Northwest coast Indian tradition. It features from top to bottom Hawk, Bear (holding a salmon), Raven and Killer Whale. Traces of the original bright red and black paint are still visible but undeniably faded. The once well-defined designs of the hand-carved wood have been smoothed by years of wind, rain and sun. This natural weathering is not meant to be viewed as an indication of neglect but rather as a sign of respect in accordance with Native American tradition that totems be left to age gracefully. Seattle Center Totem was funded by the Seattle Arts Commission.

Seattle Mural

Paul Horiuchi . 1962 Mural Amphitheatre, between Seattle Center Armory and Pacific Science Center Artist Paul Horiuchi designed the 60 foot long cycloramic Seattle Mural in 1962. Born in Japan, Horiuchi moved to Seattle in 1946 where he studied Zen and became involved with the arts community. In the mid-1950s, Horiuchi began working in collage, a technique that would later become his signature. The Seattle Mural was commissioned for the Mural Amphitheatre, designed by Seattle architect Paul Thiry. Horiuchi's design originally began as a collage of multicolored torn paper before it was enlarged and reworked into 54 brightly colored panels of Venetian glass fabricated in Italy. Using 160 color variations, Horiuchi intended the mural to evoke the natural beauty and colors of the Northwest. The mural acted then and now as a sound-reflecting acoustic backdrop for the amphitheatre stage. Seattle Mural was funded by a gift of Century 21 Corporation.

Sonic Bloom

Dan Corson. 2013 Located at the foot of Seattle’s Space Needle and a defining entry sculpture to the Pacific Science Center. The project was conceived as a dynamic and educational focal piece that would extend the Science Center’s education outside of their building. The title refers to the fact that the artwork sings as the public approaches each flower. Every flower has its own distinctive series of harmonic notes simulating a singing chorus. A hidden sensor located in each flower identifies movement and triggers the sound. So if there are 5 people engaging the flowers together, it is possible to compose and conduct music together, or by walking through, randomly set off a harmonic sequence.

Model of Typewriter Eraser, Scale X

Claes Oldenburg. 1999 This large-scale representation of a typewriter eraser by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen sits near the Museum of Pop Culture. A gift of Paul G. Allen Foundation.

Water's Edge, Year's Round

Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace. 2018 Water's Edge, Year's Round was commissioned and installed by Chihuly Garden and Glass and is located at the base of the Space Needle. The sculptors used real branches and tree stumps to create bronze molds for this homage to the Pacific Northwest landscape.

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