A mini-golf course at the Olympic Sculpture Park? These artists design a


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In a world too often filled with worry and division, here’s something that unites us: the joy of mini-golf. Some smart person from the Seattle Art Museum, perhaps realizing that many of us need this joy, had an idea not too long ago: Olympic Sculpture Park? And ask local artists to design the holes? And use it all as a fundraiser for the museum? To which I say: bring him. (And before !”)

So here it is: SAM’s “Par-Tee in the Park” mini-golf course, which kicks off for a week starting August 18, with multiple opportunities to participate: from an expensive fundraising dinner (sold out) to a very – a slightly cheaper fundraiser ($ 250 / person; tickets still available at the time of this writing) at mini-golf tee times ($ 100 / foursome, there are a few slots left at press time ). The extremely creative holes – each an adventure – are the brainchild of Seattle artists Eroyn Franklin, Quinlyn Johnson, Justin Lytle, Tim Marsden, Cathy McClure, Katie Miller, Matt Sellars, Kimisha Turner and local architectural firm LMN. All of them more or less had the freedom to design, along with advice from Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman (two people who clearly live my best life) A Couple of Putts – Minnesota’s mini-golf consultant couple.

I spoke to three of the designers earlier this month; all were then in the midst of making and creating, and all were blown away by the pleasure of trial and error of doing something completely new. (No, none of them had ever designed a mini-golf hole before.) The inevitable conclusion: the world needs more art – and more mini-golf.

Kimisha turner

Name of the hole: “My mind as an artist”


An interdisciplinary artist whose Black Lives Matter mural for SAM was recently incorporated into the museum’s collection, Turner was excited about the idea of ​​designing a mini-golf hole. “I love mini-golf! she said laughing. “I thought it would be a really cool opportunity to put this on my little list: I did a golf course.

Her design was inspired by the artist’s brain – “what goes on in my head when I create,” she said. “I literally wanted to have a lot of weird, weird stuff that kind of made up my eclectic taste.” Players will putt through a giant eye, in and around burritos and watermelon; other elements include a glimpse of Turner’s son and a shiny mandala – things that “don’t necessarily go together, but I really wanted to have something really shiny, quirky, and fun because that’s what I’m getting into. remember putt-putt golf courses. “

After consulting with Loftus and Schwartzman, Turner decided to make his sculptures out of polystyrene, painted and epoxy sealed – although Seattle has had a remarkably dry summer, you never know when the rain can fall. “The consultants were very helpful in telling us how to seal these items so water didn’t seep in and what not to use,” she said. She can’t wait to play the course with her family – and the new directions this commission has inspired in her art. “It makes me want to do more polystyrene sculptures! ” she said. “It opened doors for me creatively. I don’t know if I would have thought of this, some of the items I have made so far, without having this opportunity.

Eroyn franklin

Hole name: “Bull in a China Shop”

Artist Eroyn Franklin with some of the wooden


The design by local artist Franklin was directly inspired by a trademark of SAM: the Museum’s Porcelain Room, where more than a thousand exquisite examples of historical European and Asian porcelain objects are on display. But his take on it is a little different. “The theme is a bull in the porcelain room,” she said. A ceramist, Franklin adores the Porcelain Room, calling it “a wonderful place of reverence… everything is so pristine and perfect”. This is not, however, his way of working.

“I don’t think ceramics are precious and delicate,” Franklin said. “Although sometimes I do a delicate job, I am not a graceful creature.” She imagined a story “where the bull crosses, mixes all the vessels and all the patterns and colors, and creates this beautiful cacophony of joy”.

Franklin briefly thought about creating ceramics for his mini-golf hole, but quickly gave up on the idea – “it turns out that ceramics, when hit by a golf ball, don’t do well!” So she carved her “porcelain” vases from laser-cut wood, each measuring about 30 inches in height. His bull was cut from a very large sheet of MDF (not an ideal material, Franklin was told, but it should last for a week except in the most torrential downpours). The end result, she said, is “very bright, very colorful – very fun to play”. While this is certainly Franklin’s first attempt at a mini-golf hole, “I hope it won’t be the last. “

L M N

Hole Name: “Seattle Glitter”

Seattle-based architectural firm LMN designed a mini-golf hole, shown here in a render inspired by downtown Seattle's waterfront.  (Courtesy LMN Architects)


While most SAM mini-golf holes are artist-designed, there is one exception: Seattle-based architecture firm LMN, which designed the SAM Asian Art Museum extension, put together a small team to create the course’s biggest hole, inspired by downtown Seattle.

Hank Butitta, project manager for the creation of the hole, said the team initially talked about “trying to find a balance between something that was more architectural, talking about our past, but also thinking about the gameplay, to want to make sure it was a fun hole to play. They opted for a design that incorporated several elements of the downtown waterfront: the Ferris Wheel, the skyline of the skyscrapers, the hillside, the highway 99 tunnel (“if you go through the tunnel you are right at the cut, and if you miss it you find yourself somewhere near the water”).

The hole will be 24 feet long when completed, made mostly of wood, with downtown buildings made from solid pieces of cedar – “beautiful and sturdy, kind of simple aesthetic,” said Butitta. But it’s not without sparkle: glitter will illuminate the waves of the waterfront and LED lights will illuminate the buildings.

“We’re in an interesting position – the only non-artists involved in this project, so we’re approaching things from a little different point of view,” Butitta said. “I’m a little curious how different ours turns out to be. It’s a bit more, I think, entirely architectural than the others, coming from a background very focused on buildings and town planning.

Par-Tee in the Mini-Golf Park

Seattle Art Museum at Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave., Seattle. Various events from August 18 to 24, including sold-out fundraisers on August 18 and 20, a fundraising cocktail on August 21 ($ 250 / person) and pre-booked mini-golf from August 19 to 24 (100 $ / quartet). seattleartmuseum.org/golf/

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