Opinion: Replacement of Seattle Fun Forest with art exhibit sells out families

Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 12:10 PM | Contributed by Jeff

For children growing up in the Seattle area, the focal point of the kid-friendly features at Seattle Center was the Fun Forest amusement park. The space where the rides — sold and shipped off to other cities during the last couple years — formally towered over excited kids is now empty and awaits its newest tenant — the artwork of Tacoma-native Dale Chihuly. The Seattle City Council confirmed last Monday that there would be no new Fun Forest for Seattle’s future families but, rather, an exhibit for the artist’s glass-blown pieces.

Read more from The Seattle Times.

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Monday, May 2, 2011 12:45 PM
Jerry's avatar

I own two (very) small pieces of Dale Chihuly's work. Where I love amusement parks - I would prefer the Chihuly exhibit!

Last edited by Jerry, Monday, May 2, 2011 12:48 PM
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Monday, May 2, 2011 1:02 PM
Jeff's avatar

I for one don't understand why everyone gets so moist about the guy. His crap is everywhere out here. Most of it isn't that interesting to me. I don't think this is going to drive people to go down to Seattle Center either. They won't go for the Space Needle, because it's too expensive. Microsoft people go down for the science museum and the Experience Music Project, but only because they can get in for three bucks. It's amazing how little excitement (and people) there are down there. Glass crap that's readily available all over town isn't going to change that.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, May 2, 2011 2:16 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

You could say the same thing about the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh. Rotating exhibits, concerts and other events keep the locals going back in addition to the tourists it draws. Only time will tell in Seattle.


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Monday, May 2, 2011 2:50 PM
Jerry's avatar

@Jeff - it is a bizarre thing - but if you collect glass, and enjoy it, then it might appeal more to you. Do you?

It is akin to Frank Lloyd Wright fanatics, Tiffany collectors, Antique Roadshow patrons etc.

I have extensive display cases of Baccarat and Lalique crystal. Is it a good investment? Probably not but I enjoy it.

Last edited by Jerry, Monday, May 2, 2011 2:55 PM
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Monday, May 2, 2011 3:09 PM

There are many worthwhile inner city parks, most of them in Europe.

Fun Forest, however, was a dump. No great loss.


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Monday, May 2, 2011 3:12 PM
Jeff's avatar

There's just so much of it that I don't see it as valuable or unique. Plus, he's not dead, and art has more value when the artist is dead. Maybe I don't get it. I went to the Tacoma Museum of Glass and there was nothing particularly moving about it.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, May 2, 2011 3:47 PM
Jerry's avatar

Perhaps the buildup of the marketing behind the Artist drives the interest.

As a contrast, I often visit the Toledo museum - some wonderful pieces there - but since they were donated/manufactured by Libbey no one associates significant value to them.

When you associate a fine work with those chipped Looney- Tunes Burger King collector glasses - no one wants it.

Lalique/Baccarat/Orrefors have long built up their marketing to suit the high price they demand. I see Dale just doing the same in the present day - so he can enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Surprisingly, most of Dale's work is not done by himself anymore. He lost depth perception with the loss of his eye, and thus it is unsafe to work with the materials. He does work closely with the blowers that work under him.

Back on topic somewhat-

The glass blowers at amusement parks and Disney always attract a crowd. I wish there were more of them.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 12:17 AM

While I love Chihuly's stuff (the permanent installations at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh fit with the plants incredibly well), I don't think the loss of one of the few parks in the Northwest for yet ANOTHER display of glass is a good deal.


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:23 AM

Speaking of amusement parks and art glass, the glassblowers at Silver Dollar City do a nice job and turn out some beautiful pieces in vibrant colors, from paper weights to tall vases. Worth checking out, Jerry, if you haven't already done so.

I'm sorry that Seattle is losing it's park. I've never been there, but am I right in thinking that it's endured in some form or another as a remnant of the Seattle World's Fair? If so, from a historical aspect, it's a shame.

It's rare that we see an amusement park win this kind of battle, especially when city fathers see "better" use for the land. The show business that is the amusement park is often, unfortunately, looked down upon, and throughout the decades park owners have fought to maintain the image that the park is a clean, respectable place to go. When prime urban land is involved, it's no mystery that a cultural, educational, or even a sports venue will likely eventually replace the "seedy" carnival atmosphere of an amusement park. Look back, and you'll see it's happened over and over again.

The opinion of the Seattle Times author seems heartfelt, although by her own admission she seldom went there. She moans that it's loss will rob children of the thrill of being a kid. Ok. But if I were sitting on the city council even I, as a fan, would need to be convinced that a strictly seasonal portable amusement park that has seen better days is more viable than a year-round living art museum dedicated to a Tacoma native.

I'm sitting here slightly ashamed that I even feel this way, I'm normally a sentimental preservationist when it comes to parks. I also think Chihuly is hot. We have quite a bit of it here in Columbus, and the permanent installation at our Franklin Park Conservatory is spectacular. When I do finally visit Seattle I'll be there to stare at the glass - and I promise to take a moment to remember that an amusement park once stood there too.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 9:50 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

GregLeg said:
While I love Chihuly's stuff (the permanent installations at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh fit with the plants incredibly well), I don't think the loss of one of the few parks in the Northwest for yet ANOTHER display of glass is a good deal.

Was just at Phipps and I do love how his work is mixed in with the plants. It's a perfect environment for it. I can't imagine it would have the same effect when in a museum.


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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 11:51 AM
rollergator's avatar

Something about fire, water, and glass-blowing does it for me as well. Chihuly has always been impressive to me, ever since our first visit to The Mint Museum in Charlotte....but I can't say I wouldn't feel the same about other artisan glass-blowing.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

The park is gone. They started pulling down the roller coaster the week I moved here, in November, 2009. There were discussions about replacing it with new rides, but those discussions never went anywhere. It's a strange scene, because there are quite a few things to do there. Like I said, Space Needle is too expensive, but discount tickets for the EMP and science center are easily had. Key Arena is there too, but mostly quiet since the Sonics left. It doesn't have the vitality that the waterfront and Pike Place area has.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:32 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

When I was there in '06 the Space Needle doesn't stand out as being expensive. What does Paris do around the Eifle Tower? Seems like a good model to borrow from.


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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 4:50 PM
Jerry's avatar

eightdotthree said:
When I was there in '06 the Space Needle doesn't stand out as being expensive. What does Paris do around the Eifle Tower? Seems like a good model to borrow from.

I don't think anything competes well against Eiffel, some come in a close second - but don't compare.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 4:59 PM

The last I knew there was an antique carousel operating near the base of the Eiffel Tower. There used to be one at the base of the Space Needle, but that was the first thing to go from Fun Forest.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 5:19 PM

Ill take a subpar amusement park over a bong making pirate's artwork any day.

Seriously though, I like some variety when it comes to viewing art. When its comes to viewing only one artist's work at a time, no matter how I feel about the work, good or bad, the repetitiveness of their style gets to me to some point, which I feel may take away from my overall opinion of the work.

For me personally, Im not a huge fan of "modern art," but when I go to the SFMOMA, I find that the diversity of work offered leads to a better appreciation of works that I do like compared to those I do not. (Im talking to you solid colored canvases that someone sold to the museum for a most likely absurd amount of money!)


Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 5:44 PM
Jerry's avatar

The notion of the "Art world" is well stated for the above reasons... it is vast.

Since the park is already gone - might as well open it up as a gallery.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011 6:41 PM
Jeff's avatar

Audioslaved said:
Ill take a subpar amusement park over a bong making pirate's artwork any day.

Post of the week. That's filled with awesomesauce.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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