Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Seattle - WestLake Park

My favourite intersection in Seattle turned out to be the corner of 4th Ave and Pine Street, largely because of the sculptures in Westlake Park, but also in no small part because See's Candies shop resides here.  I first came across See's Candies in San Francisco and became addicted to the See's "Little Pops" Cafe Latte gourmet hard candies which have a rich coffee flavour but is not too sweet.  I also really adore the California brittle which a delicious chocolate covered almond toffee brittle.

It didn't help that we had to walk right by this intersection en route to most of the places that we were headed towards.  Neither did it help that each time we went in there, we were each proffered free sample of an entire See's chocolate or truffle.  It seemed totally at the whim of the server what to offer and she seemed to almost size you up to determine what you should get.  Somehow we kept finding reasons to buy more candy and chocolates on each of our three days in Seattle and we unabashedly accepted our free sample each time.  Ok, enough confession about the sweets.  On to the sculptures in Westlake Park!

Westlake park is a beautifully tiled public plaza with street level shops (including See's Candies!), trees and benches.  It spans 4th Avenue between Pine and Pike Streets and is across from Westlake Shopping Plaza.  According to Wikipedia, it is considered "Seattle's town square".  These images shows how this park usually looks.

Lucky for us that during our visit, there were not one but two art exhibitions happening in Westlake park. First, the trunks of the trees were painted a bright florescent blue as a warning by Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos against deforestation.   Then Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir's installation called "Borders", which consisted of pairs of androgynous humanoids in silver and bronze colours (made of aluminum and cast iron respectively) were scattered throughout the park.  Some were sitting on benches, some standing with various postures.  While we were looking at them, one lady actually asked us if they were statues or real people in painted suits posing for money.   We did not know originally that Westlake park did not always look like this and we marvelled at how great Seattle was to have such an amazing exciting public space.  Now we just feel fortunate that we were able to see these temporary exhibits and feel excited for what this space might hold next.

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