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Seattle: self-guided sculptural tour

The sculpture at Pike's Market
The sculpture at Pike’s Market


Seattle Space Needle
Seattle Space Needle

 Seattle Sculpture #3

by Peggy DePersia, guest blogger 

Theoretically it might not be deemed a ‘sculpture’ yet, it reads like one to me, jutting into space as it does above the Seattle landscape with its bird’s eye relationship to Puget Sound. On a recent self-guided tour of all things Seattle, or at least as much of Seattle as is possible to cram into two days, I determined that I could not leave the city without a visit to the symbolic ‘Space Needle’, a virtual world wonder (or at least we thought so then) when it was conceived and constructed for the Seattle World’s Fair…..
remember world fairs, those wondrously hyperbolic events that ‘revved’ our thoughts about the future?

Seattle Space Needle
Seattle Space Needle

Though it is a bit of a hike from downtown Seattle to the ‘Seattle Center’, home to the Space Needle and other compelling attractions, including the Chihuly ‘blown glass’ art museum and garden, we opted for a walk along the Puget Sound waterfront with its view of piers, shipping vessels and sailboats silhouetted against the horizon on late season sails.

Seattle view
From the Space needle

It was a beautiful day with deep blue water, bright blue skies and heartwarming sunshine; it was a perfect day to approach the Space Needle by way of Seattle’s dramatically situated ‘Sculpture Park’. Once at the entry to the park, we climbed a broad hill via a carefully manicured pathway marked with monumental sculptures by the likes of internationally acclaimed sculptors such as Alexander Calder and Richard Serra.


Switchbacks made the climb leisurely and bright red chairs placed along the path made it possible to pause and take in the large scale sculptures against their elegant natural backdrop in an almost meditative way.

Some of the sculptures seemed like old friends or friends of friends as we recognized in them their midwest counterparts in Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The walk provided a more measured approach to the Seattle Center and our ultimate goal, the Space Needle.


By the time we walked out of the Sculpture Park to climb the ‘rest of the hill’, every free standing object we viewed began taking on the lines of a sculptural form; from the bikes propped outside a nearby building.

Frank Gehry designed structure on the Seattle Center campus. The long held and revered architectural precept that form follow function seems to have acquired new life with the melding of artistic forms crossing new edges of understanding.

We saw a lot and missed a bit too. And, after eight hours of city trekking, we were grateful to take the monorail back to the city’s center.

I guess we’ll just have to ‘go back’.

Photography by Jerry DePersia

Peggy is a retired art instructor who loves to explore the connections between art and life, particularly with her camera toting sidekick, her husband.


Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

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