A blue structure, activated with bright and bulbous flora and fauna, stands in a natural divide between the Maple Leaf Park playground and ballfields. Jean Whitesavage and Nick Lyle’s 12-foot Gazebo (1996) contains sculptural forms of plant and animals indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. Forged steel components of the gazebo include 10-foot steel crescents holding a big-leaf maple branch and giant perennial kelp. Other forms include the great shell (chocolate whelk), a cormorant, giant pods and leaves. Located near a Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) hydrochlorination facility, the gazebo provides a peaceful resting place for park visitors and SPU employees on break.
According to the artists, this “lighthearted yet formal architectural framework” brings together the forces of “biological growth and human culture” and is “a reminder of the web of life within and beyond the city.” Not a direct imitation of nature, Whitesavage and Lyle’s works instead bridge organic and fabricated environments through an ability to “speak the language of living things through the medium of steel.”
The artwork was funded by Seattle Public Utilities (formerly Water Department) 1% for Art funds. The Parks and Recreation Department donated the granite pavers placed under and around the gazebo.
IMAGE: Jean Whitesavage and Nick Lyle, Gazebo, 1996, forged steel. Located at Maple Leaf hypochlorination facility, Northeast 82nd Street and Roosevelt Way Northeast.
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.