Bellevue’s newest art: Sit down and cheer

Bellevue’s latest public art installation is not just for looking at. Eight vividly colored steel benches along 140th Avenue, framed by ornate trellises, panels and canopies, offer nice places to sit as well.

  • Saturday, May 31, 2008 12:00am
  • News

Bellevue’s new art benches along 140th Avenue are designed to complement previous improvements made to the sidewalks and median by the Bellevue Transportation Department.

Tour today to show

city’s colorful benches

Bellevue’s latest public art installation is not just for looking at. Eight vividly colored steel benches along 140th Avenue, framed by ornate trellises, panels and canopies, offer nice places to sit as well.

To celebrate the benches crafted by Snohomish artist Karen Guzak, the city will host a self-guided walking tour of the installations from 10 a.m. to noon today. The tour will begin at Sammamish High School, 100 140th Ave. S.E., where free refreshments will be provided and Guzak will be on hand to talk about her work.

The eight installations are located along a one-mile stretch of 140th Avenue, between Northeast Seventh Street and Southeast Seventh Street, in Bellevue’s Lake Hills neighborhood. The artist drew inspiration from the landscaping on 140th Avenue and each piece has a theme based on one of the four seasons: the quince benches are for spring, rose for summer, vine maple for fall and magnolia for winter.

Guzak’s pieces are made of one-eighth inch thick steel plates that have been cut, welded or bolted together, and covered with a powder coating paint. Embedded in the base of each bench is a plaque containing a quote that students at Sammamish High School helped select, including one by writer James Dent: “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”

The colorful benches are part of Bellevue’s Public Art Program, which purchases and commissions art for the city with the advice of the Bellevue Arts Commission. The focus of the program for the next seven years includes using public art to define and enhance an urban walkway from City Hall to the waterfront at Meydenbauer Bay, working with the private sector to increase public art in the city, and working with neighborhoods to commission public art that expresses their unique character.

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