My last activity in Seattle – I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum on their free day. I don’t know what the museum looked like before the renovation, but the layout is fantastic and conceptually nothing short of revolutionary. I highly recommend a visit – this should be on your things to do in Seattle list. The galleries are not labeled by geography but organized by theme and with a focus on identity. Stories are told, not by boundaries or countries, rather through a nonlinear narrative. I’ve never seen an Asian museum express their art through these concepts.
A few of my favorite pieces came from the Be/Longing exhibit – modern and contemporary Asian Art – raising questions of who we are, where we belong – insider and outsider within an Asian heritage.
- Ai Weiwei – Colored Vases, 2010 – the artist is described as a Chinese dissident artist – ancient vases, covered in modern industrial paint – when covered in paint, it raises the question – “what is underneath – like history itself – is “no longer visible, but is still there.”
- Do Ho Suh – “Some/One”, 2001 – an assignment at the Rhode Island School of Design – to express identity through clothing – he reflects on his mandatory Korean military service – the garment is thousands of steel military dog tags/soldiers’ ID and the shape of the garment is Asian armor.
- Murkami – happy faces – the description read he was very sad when painting the happy faces. He asks – beneath the smile is not always happy.
My list of favorite things to do in Seattle –
Islands – go on the water – kayak or stand up paddle board
1. San Juan Island (drive or go by seaplane)
2. Whitby Island – walk by Ebey’s Landing
3. Bainbridge Island – take the ferry from downtown and stroll through main street
Seattle parks –
1. Gas Works Park – fun and industrial, nice views
2. Seaward Park – views
3. Lincoln Park (West Seattle), Alki beach (West Seattle)
4. Golden Gardens (walk down from the top of the steps).
5. (Tacoma park) – Point Definance
Museums – these museums present art, ideas and history, that you will not see in other parts of the country.
- Seattle Asian Art Museum
- Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center – I went many years ago and liked it, haven’t been recently, especially since their divorce.
- Wing Luke Asian Museum and the Panama hotel for Japanese internment history
Hiking – favorite hikes: (*you have to be in shape to do these) Enchantments, Snow Lake, Lake Serene
All the national parks: Olympic, Northern Cascades, Mt. Rainer
Grocery stores – Winco, Uwajimaya
Other tourist sights:
Ballard Locks (salmon)
Seattle Public Central Library “red hall”