"Eagle" by Alexander Calder at the Olympic Sculpture Garden along the Seattle Waterfront
The Olympic Sculpture Park opened in the Winter of 2007. I was very excited when it opened. The area where it is located is one of my favorite vistas in Seattle. Located at the end of the waterfront near Pier 70 and at the beginning of Myrtle Edwards Park, it has always been an outstanding location for views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.
I arrived in Seattle in the mid-70's and my first job was working in a pathology lab in the Denny Regrade area just up from where the garden is located today. Our building had stunning vistas out over Elliott Bay. Ferries seem to glide across the water. On blustery days, the wind would whip up white caps while we were secure in our offices. Myrtle Edwards Park was located just about 4 blocks down from work. Later, when I worked on Elliott Way, I would walk from the Magnolia Bridge to Pier 70. It was a contrast of the working soul from the grain elevators which shipped out the wheat from Eastern Washington to Asia to the sea of Japanese import cars waiting to be transported down the West Coast.
Several Microsoft and other software professionals had a vision. A sculpture garden to rival the view. They banded together and slowly created this extension of the Seattle Art Museum devoted to sculpture and native plants.
I had visited the garden right after it opened and loved the mixture of art and native plants. I made one more visit the following year. I had intended to return but through layoffs and changes, I never made it back.
I had a chance to return last Friday on a beautiful sunny May day. How it has grown! I parked nearby on Western Avenue and entered the garden through the Aspen Grove. The leaves were quivering in the gentle wind. The white bark provided a contrast to the stark black sculptures scattered through the grove.
I exited the grove and walked over the Seattle Cloud Cover Glass Bridge down to the waterfront. The bridge to the water passes by Schubert Sonata by Mark di Suvero and Love & Loss by Roy McMakin. I continued into Myrtle Edwards Park pathway. I sat among the daisies and let the air gently blow through my hair. The Olympics were in the distance, the PI globe turned behind me while joggers ran by.
I returned to the park and the Z path. The orange steel "Eagle" sculpture by Calder towered above the rail tracks and meadows. The path curved back to the skyline of Seattle. I took one of the side paths through the dogwoods covered with ivory colored blossoms to the rusty undulating steel sculptures of "Wake" by Richard Serra . I love walking through the steel canyons with the "Eagle" and Space Needle peeking above.
The park is free and open to the public. On the warm day, joggers, school children, sun lovers, mothers and senior all enjoyed the art, native plants and gorgeous sea views. Highly recommended.