Today is the start of the Seattle Design Festival, a celebration of how design affects the lives of people — driving innovation, adding beauty and making Seattle a more livable city. This 10 day festival features speakers, tours, exhibits, films and activities for the whole family.
As you travel around Seattle, you may notice 8-foot tall columns/markers placed around some of Seattle’s landmarks. Located in front of the Seattle Art Museum, the column to the right was created by created by the Seattle Design firm, Vivitiv as part of Design Marks. AIGA Seattle invited 25 local design firms to participate in this event and they have created location markers, each with a QR code that leads to a video. Viewing the video will “connect people more deeply to their community through design—enhancing their personal experience of that location.”
The Seattle Design Festival runs September 16-25th.
One of the highlights of last week was taking my two nieces, Andy (age 17) and Hailey (age 11) to the Seattle Art Museum. Starting with the special exhibit of Nick Cave’s “Soundsuits”, we explored the entire museum, comparing favorite pieces and talking about what made these pieces special or important works of art.
Humans have been creating artwork for at least 35,000 years. Throughout this time, art has served many purposes which are unique to each culture and specific time period. As we walked through the various galleries, we talked about what kinds of artwork were being created and what the art told us about these cultures. Where these pieces supposed to tell a story? What did this painting tell us about the person? How did this piece make you feel?
Some of the pieces in the Modern Art Galleries led Hailey to exclaim “That’s not art! I could have done that!” Without knowing it, Hailey touched upon the age-old question about what makes something a piece of art. Luckily for Hailey, a curator was present and he talked to her about a specific painting, which gave her a better appreciation for that piece. She left the room saying “I’m going to go home and create a painting that they will hang in a museum.” I hope someday this happens.
Art surrounds us — it informs and educates, encourages thought and discussion, challenges assumptions, and sometimes it is beautiful and inspiring. I have loved art and art history all of my life, and spending a day sharing this experience with my nieces was fantastic.
Back in 2000, I spent a few wonderful weeks traveling around Italy and Greece. Some of my favorite days were spent visiting local museums like the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Acropolis Museum and the Athens National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Being able stand in front of the masterpieces that I had studied in my art history classes took my breath away and touched me in ways that are difficult to express.
Yesterday Google launched the Art Project, a virtual tour of the artwork from 17 galleries around the world showing artwork from 380 artists. Using the same technology that Google uses to create it’s street view maps, virtual tours of the galleries have been created. High resolution images of the artwork allow viewers to zoom in and see details like brush strokes up close. It’s not the quite the same as being there but it is a wonderful opportunity to virtually visit museums that I may never be able to go to. It was great to see Sandro Botticelli”s The Birth of Venus once again.