If you are looking for an escape from the crowds on the Seattle Waterfront head for the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) Sculpture Park. Spread across 9 acres extending from the shore of Elliot Bay to the heart of Belltown, the SAM Sculpture Park offers comfortable green spaces and hosts a wide range of modern art pieces.
The Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park was designed by Weiss/Manfredi, Charles Anderson Landscape Architects and Magnusson Klemencic Associates. Situated on a former industrial site, discussions of transforming the site began in the 1990s. The dream of opening a public sculpture park in Seattle was realized with the park's official opening in 2007.
The SAM Sculpture Park is located to the north of the Seattle waterfront and south of Myrtle Edwards Park. A continual ramp runs in a zig-zag shape from Western Avenue to a pebble beach on Elliot Bay. This provides stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
Notable Art Pieces
Some interesting pieces in the SAM Sculpture Park include Wake, the Neukom Vivarium and the newly added Echo.
Wake – Wake was first displayed at the Gagosian Gallery but the SAM Sculpture Park became its final destination. The PACCAR Pavilion on Western Avenue is the best place to view Wake. Also referred to as the Wiggles, each one of these steel art forms is composed of two huge steel sheets designed to be mirror images of each other.
Neukom Vivarium - An 80 foot climate controlled greenhouse, the Neukom Vivarium celebrates the gradual decay and rebirth of a Western Hemlock nurse log from the Green River Watershed. You can view the tree’s decay and re-birth using magnifying glasses. Originally called the Seattle Vivarium, it was later renamed to represent the family that funded it.
Echo – Echo is a 46-foot tall sculpture created by Jaume Plensa. A sculpture of the wood nymph who distracted Hera from Zeus's affairs, Echo was cursed to repeat everything said to her. In this modern interpretation of Echo, Plensa created a meditative figure that looks across the waters of Puget Sound to Mount Olympus in the Olympic Mountain Range.
The SAM Sculpture Park is a magnificent green space right next to downtown Seattle. It offers a chance to view world class sculpture year round while appreciating the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.