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Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

November 15, 2012 at 9:49 PM

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Treasure of Art Parks


Angelina Zhu, 4, right, and Jia Hao Ho, 4, both of Seattle, play on "Sand Dragon Play Structure" by Gerard Tsutakawa at the International Children's Park in Seattle's International District. In the background is Liu Ho, Jia's mother. The family was enjoying Seattle's recent sunny weather.

Bold. Strong. Beautiful. Whimsical. Engaging. Art all around the city of Seattle -- in its parks, streets, community centers, libraries, utilities facilities and municipal offices -- can be described in many ways. In 1973, Seattle was one of the first cities in the United States to adopt a percent-for-art ordinance. One percent of Seattle's eligible city capital-improvement-project funds go to the commission, purchase and installation of artworks in a variety of settings. Permanently placed artwork, both indoors and out, can be found all around the city. There are more than 380 permanent and integrated works and 2,800 portable works in Seattle.


"Urban Peace Circle, Gerard Tsutakawa, Sam Smith Park. This large-scale bronze sculpture with a black patina finish is the culmination of a gun buy-back program instituted by Stop the Violence, an organization founded in 1992 in response to the tragic deaths of six youths from the Puget Sound area. Its composition is meant to contrast the chaos and violence of the present with hope for a peaceful future. Several of the reclaimed guns are entombed in the concrete base of the sculpture according to Seattle Parks and Recreation Department's Communications Manager Dewey Potter.


The Dragonfly Pavilion and Garden is in the Longfellow Creek Watershed in West Seattle and was designed by Lorna Jordan. This big dragonfly sits over a seating area of the park and was a part of the Seattle Public Utilities' drainage and habitat project at Longfellow Creek, according to Seattle Art and Seek on It is located near the corner of SW Dakota St. and 28th Ave. SW in West Seattle.


A bird walks through the sculpture, "From Swords into Plowshares," by John T. Young at Magnuson Park. The sculpture is located north of the boat launch and public beach at the park. At first look, these might be black Orca fins gliding over a grassy area overlooking Lake Washington. Upon closer inspection, this large pod of Orca whales is actually a grouping of 22 decommissioned diving-plane fins from 1960s U.S. Navy submarines. Dedicated in 1998, the artwork has sparked a diverse mix of comments and interpretations from park visitors.

For more park art photos, visit the gallery.

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