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New Seattle public art, 'I don't get it'June 10, 2012 @ 5:44 pm (Updated: 4:42 pm - 6/11/12 )
"What are those figures supposed to mean? I don't get it."
Jamie Cantzer from Garland, Texas looks at sculptures as she walks through downtown Seattle's Westlake Park with her sister Sylvia Ollerhaus.
The women, in their 40s, pause to take pictures with the metal figures.
"It must mean that people don't sit on the benches here much because they're taking up space," Sylvia says as they turn to me asking for an explanation of the new public art in Westlake. "Why are the trees blue? What are ya'll thinking up here?"
The Blue Trees have been at Westlake Park for several months.
Honey Locust trees that are growing in Westlake were temporarily transformed with environmentally safe pigment to "inspire awareness about global deforestation."
The blue coloring hasn't faded since April. A larger installation, by artist Konstantin Dimopoulos, can be found on the Burke-Gilman Trial in Kenmore. He's from New Zealand, and does these kinds of art projects all over the world.
The Burke-Gilman project is funded by private donations and King County's "1 percent for the arts" program. The $24,000 cost covered the artist fees, supplies and equipment. The $2,500 Westlake Park project is funded by the city of Seattle
Sharing space with the blue trees at Westlake is a new public art project called "Borders." It's the creation of Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir.
There are 26 life-size, androgynous human sculptures - 13 aluminum and 13 cast iron. Some are standing, some seated on the Westlake park benches. According to the artist they "mirror each other in silent conversation and form unseen borders."
As visitors pass by or investigate the sculptures, they cross the borders between the sculptures and serve as "ambassadors."
"Okay, if you say so," says Ollerhaus. "We have public art in Dallas too, but it makes more sense than this."
The exhibition, addressing humanity and diversity, will be there until the end of August.
The city tells me no public funds were spent on the art. The installation was funded by the artist and private donations.
Photos and story By LINDA THOMAS
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