Art Outside the Box: Public Art in Seattle

Museums aren't the only place where you can check out the masterpieces. Here's our series guide to seeing the arts....for free.
noguchi seattle asian art museum
Image: lopolis.
Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi in Volunteer Park

Public art can be, well, bad. If you've had a chance to visit any major American city in the last few years, you've most likely seen the city's attempt at public art geared for tourists. Every summer, they roll out a cast animal sculpture, ask local artists to decorate it, and place them around town in heavily visited tourist attractions. Washington, DC had the pandas, Seattle had its pigs, and Berlin even had bears. While these may have given local artists a chance to express themselves, all-in-all they were pretty uninspiring.

Instead of checking out what the local tourism board has deemed good art, Seattle has plenty of public art to inspire you....for free.

richard serra wake seattle
Image: matildaben.

The Olympic Sculpture Park is a branch of the Seattle Art Museum. Here you can see the works of such greats as Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, and Richard Serra set against the backdrop of the Puget Sound.

ballard locks art
Image: limonada.

While visiting the Ballard Locks to see the salmon run, you can also catch some great public art like these stylized waves.

seattle public library
Image: vs.

A walk through the Seattle Public Library alone is quite an experience, but in addition to the stunning architecture you'll find works of art scattered throughout.

fremont troll
Image: anaxila.

The Fremont Trollis the perfect representation of the troll from your childhood fairy tales. He sits waiting for you under a bridge in Fremont and crushes a real VW bug in his left hand. Just don't get too close.

graffiti wall georgetown
Image: soggydan.

The Graffiti Wall in Georgetown features the art of 14 local artists, who banded together to decorate this 160 foot stretch of bare wall in a neighborhood just south of downtown Seattle.

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Art Outside the Box: Library of Congress