Walking home last night I stepped on a metal sculpture. Hordes of pedestrians shuffle over this piece of art every day. It’s a manhole cover. I love cities, and I love the fact that Seattle has art everywhere you look. There are many of these elaborate manhole covers all over town. The bus shelters have been decorated by various artisans, and some of the older buildings have ornamental friezes and gargoyles.
Walking through this city is like visiting a very large art museum. Seattle has a collection of ornamental cast-iron street clocks scattered throughout town. Some of these have glass windows so that you can see the gears and pulleys in the mechanisms. Seattle is also known for its many decorative fountains. It amuses me that there are so many fountains in a place that has so much rain already coming from the sky and so much water in its harbor. We can’t get enough of the wet stuff, despite how certain residents complain.
Most of the corporate buildings have fancy lobbies and statuary, but there are also some intricate graffiti masterpieces here. Seattle is a nice mix of the elaborate and the homespun. Benaroya Hall boasts two enormous chandeliers in its lobby by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, while up in Capitol Hill you can see displays of advertising posters on each untended wall and telephone pole.
One of the sculptures I really like is called Hammering Man. This enormous statue, by artist Jonathan Borofsky, is installed in front of the Seattle Art Museum. It’s a kinetic sculpture of a worker, whose tireless arm is always pounding away. He only rests on Labor Day. The artist has installed these sculptures in several major cities, and this is one of the charms I find in it. I first met the Hammering Man in the IDS Crystal Court in Minneapolis, which is another of his locations. I feel like the Hammering Man is a moving link to another beautiful city I treasure, another city full of artistic treasures. I can’t wait to go hunting for more.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
127. Wander around your city or town and appreciate some of the art on display in the everyday places you visit. Make sure to look up and down and at all angles or you might miss something.
Link, should you desire it: