Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park: An Urban Oasis

Seattle's downtown waterfront is in the midst of a major redevelopment that includes everything from new habitat for threatened aquatic wildlife to a brand new 20-acre park, set to open in 2025.

But the new Waterfront Park isn't the first public open space near the downtown core. 15 years ago Seattle Art Museum inaugurated the Olympic Sculpture Park, including 9 acres of world-class art, beach access, and an all-seasons pavilion, open to the public seven days a week, free of charge.

"Culture speaks to the soul of a place. You can't have a great city without a museum, without an opera house, without a symphony, without a whole infrastructure of small, grassroots arts organizations."-- Amada Cruz

Marcie and Vivian caught up with SAM's Executive Director Amada Cruz to talk about how the Sculpture Park reflects the museum's overall mission, and how the upcoming Waterfront Park will meld with SAM's own activities in the downtown core.



Woman with stylish, short gray hair, red lips and leather jacket poses in front of a sculpture in the entryway to Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum Executive Director Amada Cruz

 

ABOUT THIS EPISODE'S GUEST


Amada Cruz joined SAM in September 2019. Prior to SAM, Cruz served as the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of the Phoenix Art Museum (PAM) in Arizona. During her tenure at PAM, Cruz set ambitious goals to increase diversity and create a culture of inclusion and accessibility. She oversaw a series of initiatives designed to improve financial stability, strengthen community engagement, and build national visibility. PAM attracted key national funders in support of the museum’s mission; introduced more Latinx and bilingual educational programming; and increased diversity across exhibitions and installations, presenting works by artists of color, LGBTQI+ artists, and women artists, including a retrospective for modern artist Agnes Pelton that traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2020.


Over her 30-year career, Cruz has held posts as the Executive Director at San Antonio-based Artpace, an artist residency program; Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at Bard College, where she co-organized the first US museum survey of Takashi Murakami’s work; and Acting Chief Curator and Manilow Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.


Cruz has also worked as a grantmaker and was the founding Program Director for United States Artists in Los Angeles, where she formed longstanding relationships with artists around the country and was responsible for all programming activities of a Ford and Rockefeller Foundations initiative. She also has been Executive Director of Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue in New York City, which awarded grants to visual artists in San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.


Born in Havana, Cuba, Cruz received a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Political Science at New York University. She received the 2018 Virginia Cardenas Arts Advocacy Award by Xico, an Arizona cultural institution serving Latinx and Indigenous artists. In 2015, W Magazine named her one of the 11 most powerful female museum directors in America.


Learn more about the Olympic Sculpture Park here


 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (00:00):

Hey, I'm Vivian Phillips.


MARCIE SILLMAN (00:01):

And I'm Marcie Sillman. And, this is Double


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (00:05):

Double


MARCIE SILLMAN (00:06):

Exposure. <laughing>


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (00:16):

DoubleXposure is a podcast where we plum the deepest depth and the tiniest cracks of our world to understand how culture and creativity shape our lives.


MARCIE SILLMAN (00:28):

On this episode, Seattle Art Museum Director Amada Cruz, tells us why she loves Sam's Olympic Sculpture Park on Elliot Bay.


Vivian, one of my very favorite places in the city of Seattle is the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is at the north end of the sort of downtown waterfront. And it is a sort of a pathway to the water and you can go up to the cruise ships and the grain terminals, but it's this place where I find great peace. And until about 15 years ago, it wasn't something that existed at all on that area.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (01:16):

Absolutely. And you know, Myrtle Edwards Park further north has always been a really interesting place, but it's like, how do I get there? Do you know? It's kind of tucked away. And having this connection to the Olympic Sculpture Park, I think has really created this showcase on the east side of the waterfront. Right. So you're, you're on the waterfront, but you get a chance to move a little bit east and experience this incredible art that is installed all through, It's like eight acres, that is not a small space.


MARCIE SILLMAN (01:54):

It's not a small space. Amada Cruz, the Executive Director of Seattle Art Museum, has been on the job pretty much since the pandemic started, but she's surprised both of us by letting us know that she was here when that park was dedicated. The park was uh dirty dirt.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (02:14):

Brown field <laugh>.


MARCIE SILLMAN (02:17):

It was like a dumping ground for toxic stuff. And there's a train track that goes, still goes through the middle of the park and there was no access to the water and it was just a nothing space. And because we'd been considering the waterfront, we wanted to talk to Amada about the park itself, and it was like we plugged her in, she completely lit up. She was almost neon if there's a version of neon for talking. I mean, she was so excited about it.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (02:47):

Animated and excited <laugh>


MARCIE SILLMAN (02:49):

As she should be. Yeah, and I mean, for people who have not been to the Olympic Sculpture Park and live in this area, you are doing yourself a disservice because there's everything from just going down to the water and sitting there, which you can do. Or you could explore the many, many artworks, big, monumental artworks. You can sit under Calder's Big Eagle, which they re-sited from the Volunteer Park Museum. You can sit on that hill and just survey people as they walk by. It's just quite a special space.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (03:26):

It is beautiful. So let's learn more about the Olympic Sculpture Park with Seattle Art Museum Director Amada Cruz.


MARCIE SILLMAN (03:34):

We're here today to talk specifically about the Olympic Sculpture Park, which those of us who live in this area know really well. But for folks who might be listening someplace else, what's your sort of elevator pitch description of the Olympic Sculpture Park?


AMADA CRUZ (03:50):

Well, the Olympic Sculpture Park is such a wonderful place. It is an eight-and-a-half-acre sculpture park with world class sculpture. And it is not only an art venue, but it also is a sort of natural environment wonderland, because it is right on the bay. So you have salmon, you have native plants, you have world class sculpture. All of this is for free and it's open to the public every day of the year.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (04:17):

It's one of the most treasured places, I think, in the city because it offers this respite. You know, it's just like this quiet little space that you can dip into just off the railroad track, you know, <laugh>. But Amada, the sculpture park opened in 2007. That was before your tenure began here as head of the Seattle Art Museum. Curious about how does it fit into the overall mission of the Seattle Art Museum et al?


AMADA CRUZ (04:50):

Actually, I was here in 2007 for the opening of the Olympic Sculpture Park.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (04:54):

Nice, nice. Yes. Wonderful.


AMADA CRUZ (04:57):

And the opening of the quote unquote new then downtown Seattle Art Museum. So I've seen this sculpture park in its evolution, but you know, the, the mission of the museum is to connect art to life. And there is no place that we do it more directly than at the Olympic Sculpture Park. It has very much become a place that is part of people's daily life. People start their mornings walking their dogs in the park, they have picnics, they play music, they look at art, they sketch the art, they go running. It is so much an art venue that has an impact on people's daily life. And we maintain the facilities and the interpretive material so that folks can really enjoy the park every single day.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (05:42):

So it sounds like the Olympic Sculpture Park actually is the greatest manifestation of your overall mission because it's barrier free. There is no barrier to access.


AMADA CRUZ (05:53):

That's right. It absolutely is barrier-free. I'm not sure people realize it's such an incredible gift to the city. It actually started as a conversation, way back in 1995. It's a wonderful story of civic pride and philanthropy because John and Mary Shirley, these incredible collectors of outdoor sculpture, wanted to have an outdoor sculpture park that was free and open to all the people of Seattle and visitors of course. And so they started this conversation with the then Director Mimi Gardner Gates, who of course was incredibly enthusiastic about this idea and some other local SAM supporters such as Jenny Wright, the famous Ginny Wright, who was so impactful for the city and Martha Wyckoff. And so it was a, it's a really wonderful story about people in the city, individuals wanting to give back, wanting to do something really powerful and good for all of us in the city to enjoy free of charge every day. It's a very rare story.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (06:54):

I'm gonna add one more name and that's my former boss, Paul Shell.


MARCIE SILLMAN (06:59):

And, and it's important to mention him because it was part of his vision for the city. Amada. You mentioned Mimi Gardner Gates, and Viv and I have both been around a long time. So I remember all those conversations. And one thing that Mimi really wanted, um, besides the fact that the park be free and open seven days a week, was that it connect to the Myrtle Edwards Park to the north and eventually to what we're seeing in construction now on the Seattle waterfront. Why is that connection to the whole, beyond the park itself still important?


AMADA CRUZ (07:34):

Well, you know, as Vivian said, this is a park, this is an art venue that is barrier free. And so to connect to the rest of the urban fabric, the waterfront, the downtown spaces that we all inhabit, that is a very important thing to have that connection. Right? So there are no barriers. It's completely seamless. You start this wonderful walk from, let's say the one of the ferry stops. I now take the ferry every day from West Seattle. So I could literally walk from the ferry and walk from the ferry stop all the way to the Olympic Sculpture Park and had to have this uninterrupted conversation with the landscape, with the city scape and with the ocean scape. And that I think is very rejuvenating for people and very special because we are lucky enough to be in this gorgeous space where we have mountains and water and an urban landscape that is of course endlessly fascinating to, to look at.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (08:23):

The Sculpture Park. Obviously, you know, we talked about it being barrier free open access, so it's open to the entire community. But curious about how SAMintentionally incorporates community into the programming aspect of the Olympic Sculpture Park.


AMADA CRUZ (08:41):

Actually, that's a really good question. You know, because having a park that is so big and open to the public, various publics, it's a very complex place to make function. It looks very easy, but we actually spend a lot of time, there's a lot of staff, uh, and there a lot, there's a lot of funding that goes into the park. So we find that it's actually much more practical for us to support the entire community arts ecosystem by partnering with what we call our community partners. So for example, we just had this enormous party called Remix, which I think most people in the city know on Friday night, right? Incredibly popular outdoors. We do it indoors downtown, but also outdoors. We had 2000 people on Friday night and we had so many to community partners that we work with throughout all the other Summer at Sam Nights that we've had this summer after, let's just say a two year very sad hiatus, right?


AMADA CRUZ (09:38):

We've worked with Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery, of course the Friends of the Waterfront, Northwest Folklife, Artist Home, Path with Art, the aquarium, Puget Sound Keepers... We work with so many organizations and that for us seems to be the best that we can contribute and have community voices, right, And community impact because those threads, those partnerships are so important because they're also consistent. Consistency is so important, right? When you wanna take care of the entire cultural ecosystem of your city, I feel personally that that is really our responsibility to do that. So we enjoy those, we really enjoy those connections.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (10:15):

Can you describe what a partnership looks like?


AMADA CRUZ (10:17):

Oh, of course. Absolutely. So there are lots of nonprofit organizations across Seattle, right? And they are, some of them are small grassroot organizations to much larger civic organizations, private public partnerships like the Waterfront Project. And we collaborate with those organizations in different ways. There are always different ways of doing these things. Uh, what we do, let's say co programming at the park, right? So for example, Nepantla Cultural Arts Center down at White Center. We work with Jake Prendez and his crew, it's a Chicano arts organization and we work with him and he actually presented with some of his folks, his staff at the very first Remix this summer to show what exactly that gallery does. You know, they get free space and we bring our audiences in. And so it's a really wonderful collaboration so that, you know, we're hosting them and we're presenting the best of what the city has to offer.


MARCIE SILLMAN (11:12):

It's interesting because the partnerships are ever evolving, but the part of the sculpture park that is maybe harder to change is the actually permanently cited art. And I was thinking about what is there, the acquisition for this art took place quite some time ago at this point. And I'm wondering how the sculpture park might look different if you were commissioning or purchasing art for that site today.


AMADA CRUZ (11:39):

Wow, that is a very good question. Um, and a complex one, let me go back to the very beginning. You know, I'm often asked by people in the city, you know, are we going to change the sculpture in the park? Are we gonna do temporary things? And I think that to your point, Marcy, people don't realize how complex it is to actually have a work of art installed permanently in a park. Because of course we have a lot of people and dogs and kids running around those sculptures and we wanna make sure that they don't topple over. We also wanna make sure that we're keeping the actual works of art safe. And so it's a very complex thing and that's really why we don't change them over at all. You know, my guess is, you know, at the time, I mean I look at the list, we have 20 works of art that are on view permanently.


AMADA CRUZ (12:22):

Uh, you know, every now and then we have to take one apart temporarily to fix it, let's say, or repaint it. But generally it's the 20 works. And at the time, you know, this was a collection that was given to us, uh, from Ginny Wright mostly, and from John and Mary Shirley. Um, so we are extremely fortunate, right, that we have these generous donors. And in addition, there were some site-specific commissions by who were then younger emerging artists. And Lisa Lisa Graziose Corrin was the one who was the curator at the time who put together this artistic program. And of course, now these works and these artists are actually quite well known. So my guess is that if we were to embark upon something like this again, that if we wanted to have commissions, it would be the same sort of thing with of course, younger emerging artists, but they would be different artists at this point, right? Cause these are sort of iconic figures now, Teresita Fernández is, you know, arguably one of the most, or if not the most important Latinx woman artist in the United States. So there's a lot that, um, my predecessors have to be proud of, let's say, in terms of picking the art.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (13:25):

You know, I'm gonna ask slightly follow-on question, but just because I'm trying to wrap my head around this, most of the pieces of work in the Olympic Sculpture Park are massive. So when you say that they were donated from someone's collection, <laugh>, I'm trying to wrap my head around where did the Shirley's have these big pieces of art that they decided to donate to the sculpture part? Can you clarify that, that process for those of us who are, you know, not quite well versed in how that works?


AMADA CRUZ (14:02):

That’s a very good question. So the Shirley's and Ginnie and Badgley Wright, right? They both had large sculpture collections that were placed in their homes, in their gardens, right, in their properties. And to their credit, as far as I of course am concerned, they decided that instead of just, you know, keeping them for their own private enjoyment, that they would give them to SAM in a public space. So if they very much wanted the park to be open free of charge for absolutely everybody to enjoy what used to be their collection of art. So this kind of, you know, this incredible generosity, um, you know, wanting to really share these amazing works of art with the public. No one has to do that, let's put it that way. And so the fact that they did is an extraordinary thing, cuz this was really their idea.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (14:48):

Wow. So the next time I come through, I'm gonna try to imagine any pieces of those works <laugh> in someone's yard. I love it. That that was really generous. I get it. And thank you for that description.


Our music is courtesy of Big World Breaks, many thanks.


MARCIE SILLMAN (15:12):

And this year we welcome our sponsor LANGSTON Cultivating Black Brilliance from their home at Seattle's Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in the Historic Central District.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (15:32):

Amada, this conversation is a part of a series of interviews that we're doing about downtown Seattle Waterfront, obviously one of the four neighborhoods where we're exploring connections between culture and community building. How do you think about those connections both through your work at the Sculpture Park, but more broadly at Seattle Art Museum?


AMADA CRUZ (15:54):

So I think that's a big question that you can answer in very many ways, but let's say the, the way that I've been thinking about it now, Now of course I got here right before the pandemic and I was my first order of business was to finish the wonderful work that had been almost finished at the Asian Art Museum. So there we have the Asian Art Museum, which is specific, you know, type of model of the sort of traditional temple in the park. That's a traditional model of a museum, which is a beautiful place to go. The entire experience of going in that museum, even though the collection is extraordinary, also just the building in the park are wonderful experience and we have that kind of experience. We have two other different types of experiences. We have the downtown urban space that is in a skyscraper that is very much about living in a big city.


AMADA CRUZ (16:39):

So if you're working downtown, if you're taking a walk, if you're going to the Pike Place market, we are a connection of all those places. We are connected to them. And you're coming in for respite, as you say, Vivian, perhaps you're having lunch, but you're walking around a museum in the middle of a city, then you can take a walk 20 minutes down by the water. So now all of a sudden you're back in nature and you're having this wonderful, exquisite sort of, there's a procession through the landscape, through the urban landscape, and you end up in a beautiful sculpture park always still by the water. And taking in the whole, the, the beautiful natural environment. I feel like those three different, are three different sites are very much embedded in the three different experiences that you can have in a city like Seattle. I also feel like since we're the biggest game in town, because as we're, you know, the Seattle Art Museum, that we really do have a responsibility to these other smaller, let's say non-profit cultural organizations to partner with them to showcase their good work.


AMADA CRUZ (17:34):

Now that we're gradually emerging from the pandemic, and of course the emergence is gradual, we are now looking more externally. We had to take care of our own house during the crisis and now we're exposing, you know, and looking externally so we can make, have more of those collaborations and partnerships and Remix, and Summer at Sam this summer was a big experiment. You know, we've done this before but not after a pandemic. And so it was very interesting for all of us to do it again and say, Okay, this is our return. We think people are ready to come back to the park, they're safe because they're outside. We're gonna concentrate all the efforts, all the activities outside, and let's see how it goes. It has been enormously satisfying to all of us. First of all, the people want to partner with us, right? They're not afraid of getting together again, right?


AMADA CRUZ (18:22):

Physically, that's all, you know, this is part of the environment we're in right now. And so we're making more of those links so we can all make sure that the entire, and again, I keep using this word, but the entire cultural ecosystem that we are supporting each other, but we certainly SAM, are also supporting everybody else. So that's a really important part of the, the discussion we're having now as we emerge, you know, what is our public need right now? What are the other organizations, what do they need from SAM? So, you know, we're just trying to be as supportive and good neighbors as possible.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (18:52):

As you self-identify as essentially the biggest game in town when it comes to arts institutions, what are some of the natural tensions that exist between large institutions like SAM and grassroots organizations and how do you address those tension?


AMADA CRUZ (19:11):

Yeah, that's a really, really great question. And one, the obvious one is that we are a very big ship to move. So even though we learned how to be much more nimble during the pandemic, which is not over, it is very difficult to actually become nimble if you are a large institution, we have, you know, over 200 employees, we have all sorts of liability issues that we need to worry about. We're a very big ship. So that in my mind is the hardest thing for all of us, right? It would be great if we could just turn around and do a program in 24 hours, but the things that we do, it takes some planning. It took a lot of planning to pull off this summer with Remix and all of that. So that from my mind is the most difficult thing. The other thing is, you know, can we sort of be selfless enough to take a little bit of the backseat, let's put it that way, right?


AMADA CRUZ (19:59):

And really support these other cultural, smaller organizations and bring them to the forefront and make sure that they're getting a lot of attention. I think that's part of it too. Can we be a little less ego, right? But less ego is the big organization and sometimes it's not that you don't want to be that way, it's just that you know, you are, you know, you're the big elephant in the room, right? So people pay attention to you. So can we just step back, let go a little bit of authorship, a little bit of control, and let other people take the lead, let's say. So I think those tensions in particular are interesting.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (20:32):

I would imagine that it would be also challenging and intimidating for grassroots organizations that maybe have two or three board members versus the Seattle Art Museum. It has, I don't even know how many trustees you have. I know it's a long 65, 65. You know, people that you are accountable to. I think you described it aptly, you're a big ship and you don't just push into reverse or drive and head out. You, you have to really be methodical about it.


MARCIE SILLMAN (21:04):

It's interesting that you mentioned that because Seattle is a, a city that's really fortunate to have a wide ecosystem in a lot of different art forms. And um, the late Greg Falls who started ACT Theater used to talk about the big organizations as the mother logs, really very much in that kind of environmental description. You also talked about maybe letting go of some of the ego, and I was thinking about the fact that for almost 20 years you were the destination on the waterfront, the sculpture park. And soon, not that soon, but in the next few years you will be the almost northern terminus of parks and redevelopment and a lot of open space that we haven't seen in this city. And so how do you imagine that the sculpture park fits into that whole waterfront vision and how might it change or enhance the role that you play?


AMADA CRUZ (22:06):

Yeah, I certainly think it will enhance it. And I very much look forward to the development of the, of the waterfront. You know, it's gonna be good for the entire city. It will be good for all of us because I did talk about this as a sort of seamless walk that you're gonna be able to take by the water. You know, I lived in New York City before the Highline was developed. I remember that lower West Side Highway, it was not particularly pleasant. And now it certainly is. So it's sort of, it's a sort of parallel situation I think where we are gonna take this part of the city that perhaps was a little bit, um, neglected and now is going to be, in my mind, probably the main driver of tourism, but also the main driver of happiness among all of us in Seattle. So I very much look forward to partnerships. We're already, you know, I know there's a new head of the Waterfront project. I'm looking forward to meeting her. I think we're gonna be very, very good partners, very natural partners, let's say.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (22:54):

I would think so. I mean, you move from the waterfront to the sculpture park and to the other community that we, or neighborhood we focused on. And that's Seattle Center. So it, it, it all is very synergistic and seamless.


MARCIE SILLMAN (23:08):

I just have a last question, and this is something Vivian and I have talked about a lot with guests over the past couple of years that we've been working on this podcast, which is the role that the cultural sector plays overall in civic policy making, civic identity beyond the, the world of culture itself. Um, since you did describe yourself as the big ship, you are a big one of, one of the pillars of the cultural community. How do you fit in with, uh, larger conversations about the direction that the city as a whole might take?


AMADA CRUZ (23:44):

That's a really interesting question. I mean, from my point of view, you know, the great cities of the world, the cities in, in throughout history, you know, we know these places through their artwork, right? We know through the archeological finds that we've discovered, culture very much speaks to the soul of a place. Uh, and so I think that you, I personally don't think you can have a great city without a museum, without an opera house, without a symphony, without a whole sort of infrastructure of small grassroots arts organizations and artist-run spaces. I think that is very, very important. I used to ask people, Do you wanna be Athens or do you wanna be a Sparta? Why do we all wanna be Athens? Because of the intellectual conversations that were taking place, you know, the cradle of democracy because of the artwork, because of the sculpture and the architecture and all of that. The poetry, the theater that came out of it, you know?


AMADA CRUZ (24:39):

So I think it's crucial to the identity of a city, but also to sort of giving a city soul. So I certainly feel like the arts and cultural organizations are just the, in my, from my point of view, the most important parts of a city in terms of making them empathetic, meaningful meaning. You know, I think all of us are really, everyone strives for meaning and those of us who work in the arts are lucky. In that we, I feel like we get a get a dose of meaning every day, right? And that's really what we're providing for people. You know, I saw the impact of the Olympic Sculpture Park on people during the worst of the pandemic. If you remember, we were not allowed to be by each other. We were afraid of breathing each other's air.


AMADA CRUZ (25:23):

We were afraid of singing. Can you imagine a society that can't sing because you're afraid of that? You know, that is so inhumane. And so at the worst of the pandemic, we had the Olympic Sculpture Park open of course. And our conservators who of course continued to work cuz you still have to take care of those sculptures would be out there with their SAM IDs and they were being thanked by people, members of the public. Thank you for keeping this open cuz it was the only place where you could meet a friend. And I certainly did this, where you could meet a friend, walk five feet away from them, even with your mask on in those days and have a conversation in person. So that humanity, that incredibly, uh, human impulse to be together, we were able to provide that for people. So to be able to actually see that in during the worst crisis that any of us have ever lived through was so important and satisfying for all of us at the museum.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (26:20):

I think that certainly speaks to the necessity of art and civility.


AMADA CRUZ (26:25):

Art and civility. Thank you, Vivian. That's a beautiful way of putting that. When we closed, we were closed, I believe it was for nine months, the first time downtown, the indoor space. So when we finally opened, I was afraid that people wouldn't come back. Are they going to remember? But we opened our doors, people came back, they wrote to us. They let us know that they were happy to come back. This is when you really value something, right when it's taken away from you. So we're feeling very good about the future certainly and also about Seattle's future with the waterfront development. So we're very much looking forward to all of that happening.


MARCIE SILLMAN (26:58):

Amada Cruz, thank you for your work. Thank you for keeping the sculpture park open through the pandemic and thank you for being with us on doubleXposure.


AMADA CRUZ (27:07):

Thank you so much for doing this podcast. It's really wonderful for all of us to hear from our other sister organizations what they're up to. So thank you both so much.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (27:14):

Well, I am so enlightened after having that conversation with Amada and you know, she could not have hit the nail on the head more precisely when she said that culture speaks to the soul. It speaks to the soul. And I mean, I learned so much as you can probably tell the big, the big epiphany for me is how does, how does somebody have something that big and beautiful in their yard? You know, big city girl in a small town that's me, <laugh>,


MARCIE SILLMAN (27:48):

Maybe their yards are a little bit bigger than yours.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (27:51):

<laugh>. Well, well obviously. Probably bigger than yours, mine and both of our neighborhoods. But what a right, but what a wonderful thing to have individuals who are of means, who have had this kind of art in their own possession, be willing to contribute it to the city for all of our consumption.


MARCIE SILLMAN (28:18):

A thing that you mentioned in this interview that really sticks with me when Amada was listing all the people who had been instrumental, you talked about your former boss. Yeah. The late Paul Shell who had been the mayor of the city for a term. And Paul Shell was the kind of person who maybe wasn't the perfect politician, but he was the perfect visionary when it came to understanding how culture and our foundations to, as Amada says, as a wonderful city.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (28:49):

Yeah, yeah. I mean I couldn't help but mention him because I have a vivid memory of the press conference that we had at the Bay Conference Center to really announce this new project, which was the Olympic Sculpture Park. You can look at renderings and you know, all of that and plans on paper. But to see it come alive, to be able to experience it in the way that we are able to do that has been one of those points that makes me always remember Paul Shell, that was part of your vision.


MARCIE SILLMAN (29:26):

He would've been thrilled about the new park that is going to be just to the south of the Olympic Sculpture Park. Because what we're gonna have on our waterfront is this very big park that goes essentially from the harbor, from the port of Seattle, where the containers are all the way up through Pioneer Square, through downtown Seattle, up through Belltown. And it just kind of seamlessly will merge into this, this other big park. And then on up to Myrtle Edwards Park, as you mentioned in the beginning of the show, it has been there for a long time and we haven't really figured out how that connected to the city. And now it's just like a beautiful necklace.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (30:11):

You know, after talking with Amada too, I had this moment where I was like, I, I don't know about you, but I love Fleet Week <laugh>. Cause you know, you know what it looks like on the waterfront when it's Fleet Week and all those pressed white uniforms, <laugh>, I'm gonna leave it at that. But I had this moment where I was thinking, Wow, Fleet Week, you've got a Navy ship in the harbor. You've got all of these, uh, service individuals walking along there, and then there could be Remix happening at the Olympic Sculpture Park. There could be, you know, some sort of Indigenous activity taking place at Waterfront Park. That to me, really makes a city extremely exciting. And I don't know that all those things are gonna happen at once. There may not be a confluence of all those things at one time, but just the energy that it, uh, generates is an asset, a huge one.


MARCIE SILLMAN (31:13):

You know, it's interesting. Matthew Richter, who is, I think currently still the interim director of the City's Cultural Spaces Agency, has long been an advocate for cultural space, has worked for the Office of Arts and Culture. And in many conversations I've had with him over the years, he talks about the importance of people from different backgrounds coming up together in a city, in a urban core, bumping together, if you will. The rubbing together, the meeting up is what ignites sparks. It's what ignites those aha moments that you've been talking about. Or just some creative pathway that somebody might take in a completely different direction. And, and so all the interviews that we've been doing about the waterfront have given me that kind of zhush of like, Wow, we are gonna have that.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (32:09):

Yeah, you know, how important it is. You know, just thinking about what you just said about Matthew and his interest in and advocacy for creating cultural spaces that bring people together. I think it really reduces tensions that could otherwise be explosive when we get a chance to interact with each other, just living our lives, you know? And I think that's what we are finding is happening in all of these various communities that we've been focused on. And then how all of those things kind of have this, this common synergy at various locations. So I'm hoping to be around in 2025 <laugh>. We, we are counting down the days, right. But I'm hoping to be around to experience this as well. It's a, it's a new growth era for the city of Seattle.


MARCIE SILLMAN (33:06):

Super exciting. Everyone, thanks for listening. We appreciate so much you hanging with us and taking this journey through the city of Seattle.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (33:15):

Thank you.


MARCIE SILLMAN (33:25):

DoubleXposure Executive Producers are me, Marcie Sillman.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (33:30):

And me Vivian Phillips. We get production support from Hilary Northcraft, Randy Engstrom, and Calandra Childress.


MARCIE SILLMAN (33:37):

Support for doubleXposure comes from Pyramid Communications.


VIVIAN PHILLIPS (33:41):

And we're especially proud to support Crosscut Media's Black Arts Legacies Project, highlighting the role of Black artists and arts organizations throughout our cultural landscape.


MARCIE SILLMAN (33:53):

If you like what you're hearing on this episode of doubleXposure, be sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app and check out our website, doubleXposure.com.


Amada Cruz Episode Transcript
.pdf
Download PDF • 118KB

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

DoubleXposure Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of doubleXposure podcasts, with all rights reserved, including right of publicity.


What You Can Share:

You are welcome to share an excerpt from the episode transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles, in a non-commercial article or blog post, and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include proper attribution and link back to the podcast URL. For the sake of clarity, media outlets with advertising models are permitted to use excerpts from the transcript per the above.


What You Cannot:

No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content, images or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. If you would like permission to use our logo or an image of the hosts, please contact us.