An imaginative, artists-created outdoor playground in Next 50 Plaza will open in time for summer at Seattle Center.
Coming to Seattle Center in 2015
Artists at Play, an imaginative, artists-created outdoor playground in Next 50 Plaza will open this spring in time for Folklife Festival and all of the summer activities at Seattle Center. Artists at Play offers free fun for all ages. A 35-foot Climbing Tower, colorful Labyrinth, ADA-accessible Carousel, child-inspired musical instruments, listening stations, sound swings, play mounds, and "story lines" offer child-friendly amusement in keeping with the mission and purpose of Seattle Center.
Initial planning work on this exciting partnership project began in late 2012. After meetings earlier in 2013 to determine project direction, Center Art LLC, Seattle Center and Seattle Center Foundation convened a nine-member advisory group to help develop a project scope and artist/designer selection guidelines for an artful play space to be located on the former North Fun Forest site at Seattle Center.
In August 2013 the partnership announced a call for an experienced and imaginative Pacific Northwest artist/design team to provide design and fabrication services for the Artists at Play project. The deadline for the call was in early September. A selection panel compromised of members of the greater community and Seattle Center reviewed the submissions and selected an artist team for the project.
The team, comprised of celebrated Northwest artists Trimpin and Judith Caldwell, in partnership with Site Workshop and Highwire, will transform the asphalt plaza between Seattle Center Armory and EMP Museum into a free, artistic, sound-filled play area for kids of all ages (see link below for conceptual renderings and team resumes).
The project team undertook a robust community engagement process to gather input and feedback from local kids so that the play area truly reflects the community's imagination and creative spirit. A Kick-Off Community Design Presentation, Workshops, Open Houses and outreach into the corners of the city during the spring of 2014 allowed the team to collect a diverse range of ideas. The drawing above is the result of this public engagement. Project construction began in early December 2014.
The play area will help reinvent and enliven three three-acre Plaza. Private funding for the project was provided by Center Art LLC, as a provision of its lease for the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. The total project design and construction budget is $800,000.