Mission: Explore Kirkland's extensive collection of public art by taking a self-guided walking tour of downtown and the waterfront along Lake Street, stopping to admire each and ponder the artist's intent.
Route: Since it is a self-guided tour, the route is up to you and can be as long or as short as you like. All of the attached photos were taken downtown and along Lake Street. We started at Marina Park, wandered along Central Way and Park Lane, curled around on Main Street to Third, then took Kirkland Avenue to Lake Street. That we followed to to Houghton Beach before returning directly to Marina Park. Estimated distance: 2.5-3 miles. Estimated time: three hours, including a stop for lunch.
When you think of what makes Kirkland Kirkland, its neighborhoods and superb variety of parks immediately to mind.
But what would this little city nestled on a corner of Lake Washington be without its remarkable collection of public art? Most of the time we drive, ride, walk or jog past pieces of this collection with momentary appreciation at best.
If you take the time to stop and look, however, you'll discover that most of them are not pieces hanging on a wall that ought not be touched. My art teacher at Lake Washington High School all those years ago once told the class that one of the biggest compliments that could be paid an artist was to touch their work. And most of Kirkland's public art are works that you can touch, sit near and interact with.
The variety and scope of the collection is also special.
"We have a critical mass, and that's what makes it so amazing," says Julie Huffman, the city's liaison with the Kirkland Cultural Council. "It creates a sense of place like nowhere else."
The is soon to release a new tourism brochure that will feature three short self-guided public art walks, which will include most of the pieces shown here.