The next time you walk through Volunteer Park, look for this new art installation!
Chloë Bass: Soft Services is a new art installation in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. It is made up of 14 stone benches engraved with messages and placed throughout the park. You can check it out at any time between now and August 2023, but we recommend going this Saturday, October 1 to see the artist in conversation with a local author.
Keep reading for more info!
Chloë Bass: Soft Services was commissioned and organized by the Henry Art Gallery. It was installed in Volunteer Park in August 2022, where it will remain for a full year. The installation consists of 14 stone benches, some scattered separately throughout the park and some grouped together.
Each stone bench features an engraved inscription as well as a silhouette of a plant. The inscriptions are meant to stand alone while simultaneously weaving together to create a larger meaning. As you walk through the park and read each inscription, the art installation begins to feel like a fluid poem that you are experiencing at your own pace.
The meaning behind the project is made up of several themes, from climate change to care in a pandemic. According to the Henry Art Gallery: “The title, Soft Services, is a phrase drawn from the artist’s research and interviews with members of the activist community, in reference to the care efforts made during the height of the AIDS crisis.”
This art installation feels particularly poignant as we exit a years-long pandemic. “Through this installation, Bass explores the notion of what true care means, what we define as essential versus optional, and who has access to it, questions of heightened importance at this moment of crisis and recovery,” says Henry Art Gallery.
And yes: you are allowed (and encouraged) to sit on the stone benches.
You can also see two additional sculptures that are a part of the overall artwork, but reside outside the Henry Art Gallery.
Visit Volunteer Park this Saturday, October 1 at 3:00 p.m. to see the artist Chloë Bass in conversation with local author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. The event is free but space is limited, so register ahead of time if you plan to attend.