Tony Smith's Stinger (1967-68 1999) was installed in Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park last summer, five months before next weekend's public opening. I wrote, back then, about all the elements which came into alignment to create the park, and the circumstances which contributed to Smith's becoming a great sculptor.
Stinger was named after the refreshing (and intoxicating) cocktail - a Bent second-set favorite. As is the case with many great cocktails, the last ingredient added can make all the difference. In the case of the Olympic Sculpture Park, the last, important element to be added is people. Art lovers, outdoors lovers, dog walkers, joggers, school groups, tourists, neighbors, or just folks trying to get across the tracks before an endless freight train clears the intersection at Broad and Alaskan.
The official opening is January 20th, but many pre-opening events are underway, including today's press preview, even as the amazing construction team battles storm after storm to finish the park. These folks, viewing Stinger from the inside out, were a small part of a large group which came through last weekend. From the Bent perspective, it was a transforming event. No hardhats and fluorescent vests, no all-black outfits, no camera crews. Just people following the paths, children running on the grass, pausing to take in the expansive views and consider the installed art. It's finally time to add the people and stir up this wonderful place, as the new banners proclaim, "where earth meets art".