The Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition, one of Puget Sound's premier art events, breaks tradition this year with arts installations downtown, outside the confines of City Hall and Downtown Park.
Introducing residents to the idea of public art installed along a route from City Hall to Meydenbauer Bay, the Bellevue Arts Commission gave the exhibition a new name: "Bellwether 2010: Art Walk Bellevue."
The opening celebration, free and open to the public, is Saturday, June 26, 6 p.m. at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE.
Twenty-six art works, indoors and out, will be on view at City Hall, and nine will be displayed in the Downtown Park. Along the art walk route there will be two installations, one at the Galleria and the other in the old Safeway parking lot at 500 Bellevue Way NE. Sculptures are from across the U.S., Australia and South Korea. Most are by Northwest artists.
Visitors to the Galleria will see "Jar," 100 upside down mason jars filled with sea glass, beads, moss and solar-powered LED lights, while people passing the parking lot on Bellevue Way will spy "Ghost Trailer," the frame of a camping trailer constructed with driftwood and moss.
For Bellwether 2010, audio segments about each piece are available via cell phone, and this year visitors can have a conversation about the art by posting comments by photos of each piece.
In addition to introducing the art walk idea, the exhibition focuses on sustainability, a priority for the city. Bellwether 2010 artists addressed the issue through their art work's message, materials and/or methods used to make the art. Artists responded with work ranging from serious to light-hearted.
A permanent art walk from City Hall to Meydenbauer Bay has been a long-term vision of the Arts Commission, embraced by the City Council in 2008.
Knowing that it would take many years to fully realize the vision, the commission decided to start experimenting by incorporating temporary art installations along the route as part of the biennial Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition.
"For our first year using the art walk approach, we were really pleased to partner with JSH Properties at the Galleria and with Kemper Development, who owns the 500 Bellevue Way site. It's a great start and an exciting challenge," said exhibition chair Roxanne Kröon Shepherd.
A teen project will feature models of art imagined by local teens for some of Bellevue's biggest open spaces. Then the models will be digitally "placed" in photos of their selected sites showing how a full-scale final work would look on site. Each actual site will have an interpretive sign including project information and the photo of the art model in the site. Visitors will be able to use their cellular phones to access an audio tour component, narrated by the students, describing their works and the process.
A special project sponsored by the Bellevue Arts Program will feature the aLIVe project, which provides artists' takes on low-impact vehicle design. Bellwether's June 26 opening celebration will include artist-designed demonstration models and an activity table where guests can imagine their own low-impact vehicles.
The exhibition runs through Oct. 17.
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