Danny Westneat is right on with his column about the worst bench in Seattle:
It doesn’t look like much. Just a two-level bench of fiberglass, with legs made from steel plumbing pipes. It was designed to evoke an era when labor halls and working stiffs ruled Seattle’s Belltown. The art bench juts slightly into the sidewalk along Second Avenue, intervening in the right-angle-orderliness of the urban grid. Its goal, says the city’s art Web site, is to “engage passers-by physically and mentally, as well as visually, by providing places to sit and think.”
Yeah, to help passers-by engage with a Mickey’s Big Mouth, maybe.
Even if the art itself isn’t to blame, what irks neighbors is that because it’s art, it can’t be moved without special permission from a city arts panel.
“We’ve been trying to get rid of it for eight years,” Markovich says. “But it’s part of this Belltown art theme, so the city won’t let it go.”
The theory was that art can help design away crime. Make a place interesting and vibrant, it will be safer. Only it turned out drug dealers and pimps appreciate art, too.
The artist, Kurt Kiefer, wrote on the city’s public-art Web site that he placed that bench and other objects on the Belltown sidewalk as a way to “remember the experiments and improvisations that … continue to define the Denny Regrade.”
Corsi says the city must end this art exhibit, or neighbors will do it for them.
“The bench is going to show up one morning on the mayor’s front lawn,” he said.
One day, that bench will disappear. And no one, and I mean no one, will be sorry that it’s gone. I walk by this bench every day, and it’s always a dump. Belltown has other “art” pieces, like the concrete rubble on 1st Avenue, that ought to get the heave-ho. But lets start with that bench.
City Hall needs to stop inflicting crappy public art on the public.