Monday, April 30, 2007

This Is Not A Swingset

Yesterday the girls and I went to Seattle's sculpture park. With a sweeping view of Puget Sound, a small but perfect rocky beach, and long walkways where you could let four year-olds run without worrying too much, it was much cooler and more kid-friendly than I'd imagined. Except for all the annoying "Do not touch" signs.

Because what will any normal kid do when confronted with a 30 foot high cherry red industrial steel structure that vaguely resembles a crane? Or a huge series of rusted steel walls? I mean, I get "Do not climb." Or "Do not sit or lean." But "Do not touch?" For an outdoor sculpture park filled with industrial art and small children, that seems a bit much.

Apparently others thought so too. While we were there, a bit of commotion arose over a guerrilla installation of a pure white, basic steel backyard swing set. It was surrounded by large "Do Not Touch" signs imploring us to "help the art survive." A discreet ground mounted plaque read "Leci n'est pas une swingset." Twin B, who loves swings, ran to the installation and the artist gently explained that this was "art" and not to be touched. Genius. She took it really well, as did the other kids. I guess they were used to it.

We went down to the beach and climbed rocks for a while. By the time we returned less than an hour later, security had already cleared the smart-ass agitators away. The powers that be at the Sculpture park don't take well to being mocked.

12 comments:

Stephany said...

If the City was truly "smart"; they would install a REAL playground that includes real swings for kids, so they can be a kid, play and appreciate art all at once; and to make a eco-green statement; the play area is filled with chipped and recycled auto tires for the play area. I remember when my kids were little and taking them to botanical gardens, telling them to "look with your eyes".
Then we went to a park to play. Why not combine it.

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