There is one thing you’ve been able to do no matter what other COVID restrictions are in place: and that is to take a walk.
You can even walk with a socially distanced buddy, and it is amazing how much better a short stroll around the block can make you feel. By now you may be tired of your usual destinations, so here’s a suggestion for you: take the Downtown do it yourself Sculpture Walk.
The online Art Map will give you directions to specific sculptures and it also includes the locations of all the very cool decorated signal boxes downtown. A signal box is that unsightly gray plastic box that sits right next to a traffic signal. Over the last couple of years, local artists have been commissioned to decorate the boxes with paintings of birds, flowers and many other motifs. Find your favorite – some of them are very cool.
The sculpture walk brochure is easy to use as a map and it has lots of pictures so you can identify what you are looking at.
Start by the ‘Garbage Goat’, which has been “eating” small pieces of garbage from passersby since 1974, and head east toward the University District. You will pass ‘The Childhood Express’ which is the proper name for the Ken Spiering sculpture also known as The Big Red Wagon. Stay on the southside of the river, and you will pass Glenn Emmons bronze miner sculpture ‘From This Earth’ and Dorothy Fowler’s ‘Michael P. Anderson Memorial.’
If you head west from the Garbage Goat, walk into Riverfront Park and search for Ken Spiering’s ‘Mountain Sheep’ or the newer steel sculptures of Native Americans in Huntington Park, between City Hall and the river. Behind the Ice Ribbon you will find ‘Totem No. 2’ and abstract bronze sculpture by Nancy Genn – and these are just a few of the sculptures mentioned on the map.
If you are bringing children with you on the walk, take some time at each sculpture and talk about it. What does it look like to your child? I promise you will hear surprising answers and remember this is art, it’s meant to spur your imagination so none of the answers are wrong. Bring a pad and some pencils and draw a picture of the sculpture; walk around it and look at it from different angels. There is lots of art to see in and around downtown – you just have to slow down a little and look for it.