On a sunny day, go for a walk or a bike ride on the Interstate 90 Trail and check out The Philosophical Promenade (1989) by artists Keith Beckley and Dennis Evans. The artwork is located on the I-90 lid above the Mt. Baker Tunnel, extending west from the tunnel to Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
The Philosophical Promenade is a visual poem that allegorically depicts everyone’s journey from “dawn” to “twilight.” The artwork is composed of two identical sets of 12 conceptual “gateways,” or sections, that are approximately 50 feet apart along a pathway. Each “gateway” is thematically titled in inlaid bronze with an adjacent bronze plaque depicting a symbolic representation of a different stage of the journey –a figure walking up a river with wind blowing on him, pushing a wheel up a mountain, crawling across a sword which spans a chasm, holding a walking stick and lantern, and walking a path between two poles.
Adjacent to each plaque is a rock set in a rectangle surrounded by inlaid bronze lettering with a philosophical statement, meant to give a clue or trigger for understanding and interpreting the plaque’s image. As you move down the pathway, the story of the journey unfolds.
The Philosophical Promenade was created in the late ’80s as part of the I-90 lid construction project. The artwork was funded by the Engineering Department (now Seattle Public Utilities) 1% for Art funds and Washington Department of Transportation construction funds.
IMAGE: Keith Beckley and Dennis Evans; The Philosophical Promenade; 1989; granite, stone, bronze.
Weekly Art Hit is featuring artworks every week from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the city’s public art program.