The Olympic Sculpture Park: A Popular Park in Seattle

The Olympic Sculpture Park, one of the most popular sculpture parks in America, is located in Seattle, Washington. The park, which opened on January 20, 2007, was designed by architect Weiss Manfred with the collaboration of landscape architectCharles Anderson, Magnusson Klemencic Associates and other consultants. It was built on a former industrial site occupied by the oil and gas corporation Unocal until the 1970s. It consists of a nine-acre outdoor sculpture museum and beach, which attracts over a million people annually.

The park is a free admission public sculpture park, and it is one of the most unique institutions in America. It was created from the idea from a discussion in 1996 in Seattle between art museum director Mimi Garner Gates (also wife of William Gates, Sr.) and Martha Wyckoff while being stranded on a fly fishing trip in Mongolia due to a helicopter crash. The idea led to Eykoff, a trustee of the Trust for Public Funds, to begin searching for a location for the park.

With a $30 million gift from Mary and Jon Shirley, the foundational donor was established for the building of the arts. A total of 5.7 million dollars was spent on transforming 100feet of the seawall and underwater shoreline inside Myrtle Edward Park.


Awards that have been received by the park

Awards that have been received by the park because of its design, engineering and environmental restoration include the Architectural Magazine Progressive Award in 2003 and the award of the Museum of Modern Arts in 2005, which was given based on the excellent construction of the grounds’ contemporary landscape. In2007, the park received the following awards:American Institute of Architects Honor Awards for Washington Architecture;American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter; the Allied Organization Award;American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter; Design Awards: Architecture Honor Award ,American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); Professional Awards: General Design Honor Award (Lead Designer: Weiss/Manfredi); Landscape Architect: Charles Anderson Landscape Architecture,American Institute of Architects, New York State Chapter;and Excellence in Design Award and Cascade Land Conservancy, among many others. In the year 2008, the park also received numerous awards, which include:The World Architecture Festival Nature Category Award; The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design American Architecture Award; The EDRA/Places Design Award in cooperation with Metropolis magazine; I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review; and the travel plus leisure award for best culture space, among many others.


Some criticisms made against the park

The park, which turned out to become the choice location for most art-loving Americans and even international art tourists, received stiff criticism in the early stage of its planning and construction.A group of critics in the community believed that the new park would result in the complete shutdown of the waterfront streetcar, which had been in operation since 1982. This was because the park required the demolition of the street car maintenance storage facility.

Most of the sculptures which came from the local collection were criticized and named as an equivalent of an unwanted birthday present left on the curb of a charity. According to artcritics, the art in the museum do not having staying power. Alsoa number of people who kept art in the museum have stated that they do not have an interest in keeping their sculpture and thereby are using the park as a tax write off.

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