Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Sculpture Garden at WWU


Jeanette and Don in front of sculpture

Today twelve Senior Trailblazers set out from the Senior Center to
 take our time walking through many of the wonderful outdoor (and some indoor) sculptures on the Western Washington University campus. We drove to the Sehome parking lot and then made our way up a steep slope to the main campus, where our leader, Barb, took us to see many of the fine pieces for us to enjoy. I'm sorry I didn't get any more information about this opening sculpture, and I've already had some difficulty in locating others, which I present here.

by James FitzGerald

This sculpture was created to "honor those who served their country in World War II." The softly flowing water creates a gentle background to the stark feeling of the bronze sculpture's essence. "Rain Forest was Western’s first public sculpture and FitzGerald’s first bronze fountain. Evoking the rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula, the vertical structure, with its bark-like pattern, suggests a stand of trees above the horizontal element of a fallen trunk" (2020 Sculpture Brochure).

Wade King

Entering one of the numerous buildings on WWU's campus, I saw this statue of a young boy in baseball uniform. I learned that it is a likeness of Wade King, one of the two 10-year-old boys who was killed by a pipeline explosion in Whatcom Falls Park 25 years ago yesterday. That link will tell you about how it happened and all the ramifications of that awful event. Three young people were killed and dozens more injured, in an accident that didn't need to happen.

Me and Persis standing in the stone rings

 Next I discovered this round stone ring, with twelve different round windows, created by Nancy Holt, who saw this creation from start to finish in the late 1970s. You can read all about it here. It's an amazing place to ponder and enjoy at any time of the year.

Do Ho Suh's creation, Cause and Effect

We walked inside another building and up some stairs to see this incredible "volcano" made up of tiny people! The story of this is rather interesting:

Individuals coming together as a group is a topic of great importance in Suh’s work. Here we see thousands of figures stacked atop one another in an ominous formation of a tornado. But the work also has a positive implication. In Suh’s words, “It is more about interdependency, a hope for human understanding, where things coexist.” (2020 Sculpture Brochure)

There were so many wonderful pieces and places, I couldn't even begin to get it all into this post. I'm running out of steam, too, so I'll close with this incredible piece by Alice Aycock, that she created in 1987 and that currently graces a lawn on WWU:

The Islands of the Rose Apple Tree Surrounded
by the Oceans of the World

When I first saw it, I ghout it looked like a spaceship, but then I saw many symbols that feel quite Native American. Here's what the brochure says about it: 

In her sculpture, Aycock translates a cosmological  diagram of the Indian Jain religion into a three-dimensional concrete form with flowing water. Here we see the middle world (the domain of humans, animals and plants) in a bird’s eye view, with its mountains, lakes, rivers and islands surrounding the sacred Mount Meru.

Whew! There was so much more, but I think I've done more than I intended. And now it's time for me to finish all this and continue on with what's left of my day. After having enjoyed Taco Tuesday with some of my fellow travelers, I headed home to write this post and catch up on the news. Hope you are having a great day, too!



  1. We toured some of the outdoor sculpture garden a long time ago now when Jake was at school there.. When we visited Irene there recently it was too wet to enjoy being outside. We still have time with her there. We may have to make a return visit. Thanks for this post.

  2. Once in while it's good to look at another area. You did that well with the art you saw.

  3. What a wonderful visit with such beautiful work to see! Great visit.

  4. Wow! So much to see there. I would have to read about the exhibits because I wouldn't be able to tell what they represented on my own, that's for sure. :)

  5. Interesting! The stone rings are way cool:)

  6. What a wonderful outing. I particularly like those stone rings.

  7. I just love to look at art. Thanks for showing us these awesome pieces. Good job!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing all these interesting sculptures. The one of Wade King is so sad.
    Suh's sculptures caught my fancy and I looked him up. Wow! He's really got some amazing pieces.


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