But, we’re not referencing an election for local political races. We’re talking about ballots to select the next piece of artwork to grace a park or street corner in Olympia.
Washington State artists are vying for your vote. And, the City of Olympia is listening.
Starting at Bayview Thriftway and continuing along the Percival Landing boardwalk to Budd Bay Cafe, the City of Olympia has placed 15 loaned sculptures.
“Near each sculpture is a ballot,” says Stephanie Johnson, Arts & Events Coordinator for the City of Olympia. “Citizens are encouraged to visit all 15 sculptures and then vote for the piece that the City should purchase.”
Sculpture photos are available online along with additional information about the artist. Voting however is only available by filling out a ballot and submitting it to the Olympia Center.
“We want the public to interact with the sculptures in person, instead of simply looking at a photo online and then voting,” explains Johnson when describing the voting process.
Last year, Dan Klennert’s “King Salmon” sculpture was the clear winner, according to Johnson. The sculpture has now been installed permanently at West Bay Park.
Viewing Art With Kids
The Plinth Project, named after the architectural term for a sculpture stand, is a great way to involve your kids in viewing art.
Hands On Children’s Museum educator, Marcie Pickett-Johnson has some helpful tips for engaging your children in viewing art. “The biggest challenge is getting kids to stop and really look,” says Pickett-Johnson.
“What draws a kid in is not the element of art but rather the story, which may be quite outlandish,” she says.
She encourages parents to start by asking open-ended questions with the goal of getting a child to notice what’s going on in the art. “Draw in your child with questions such as ‘what do you think this is?’ or ‘what do you think is going on here?’” suggests Pickett-Johnson.
Once the child answers, she suggests asking a follow-up question such as “‘what makes you think it’s a mommy?” Continuing the example, Pickett-Johnson then draws the answer back to the art by saying something similar to “so, since this line right here is curved, it makes you think that this is a pregnant woman.”
“Bring in elements of art like line, shape, texture or material. These are investigations that you can do together with your child,” adds Pickett-Johnson.
“Give a suggestion but still let your child tell you what she sees. Help him notice more and more,” comments Pickett-Johnson who adds that a great question should be something like “why do you think that?”
If the kids get antsy along the walk, stop at the beautifully remodeled Percival Landing Park. Swing, climb the monkey bars, or enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawn.
The boardwalk, just under one mile, is a combination of paved and wooden pathway. Ideal for a stroller or kids cycling, the boardwalk is a popular landmark in downtown Olympia. Continue to the end of the path and connect with the Olympia Farmers Market.
At the end of the twelve-month exhibition, the sculptures, with the exception of the winning piece, will be returned to the artists.
If you are looking for more direction or understanding of art appreciation, join an art walking tour. The free walking tours last about one hour and are open to everyone. Occurring every Saturday through the end of September, volunteer Art Ambassadors lead the tours that begin at 11:00 am from the bell in front of the Olympia Farmers Market.
“The tour covers six permanent pieces along Percival Landing as well as information on the Plinth Project,” says Johnson who also notes that there is bathroom and water break half way through the tour. (Great information for parents to know!)