Baseball may be unique among sports as a source of inspiration for art and literature. At Safeco Field, baseball-as-muse is on display for all to enjoy through one of the most comprehensive art programs of any Major League ballpark.
Public and private works by noted Northwest artists are featured throughout Safeco Field and the parking garage ranging from traditional to conceptual. All are baseball-inspired.
Includes paintings, prints, photographs and one sculpture
Location: Terrace Club and Suite Levels
A collection of 43 paintings, prints and photographs, as well as a sculpture of a larger-than-life umpire-all on loan from the Safeco art collection-are exhibited on the Terrace Club and Suite Levels of the ballpark. The collection features original works by regional artists and reproductions of photos documenting the rich history of baseball in the Northwest. All celebrate the game and the basic values of sportsmanship and fair play. The largest piece is "Safe," a giant umpire by Scott Fife. Standing over six-feet tall and 92-inches from outstretched fingertip to fingertip, the life-like sculpture is posed in a crouch to call a runner safe. Inspired by a 1955 image of Emmett Ashford, the first African American umpire in the Pacific Coast League, the sculpture is made of archival cardboard, drywall screws, glue and acrylic paint. "Safe" towers over the Terrace Club lounge on the First Base side of the ballpark.
Children's Hospital Wishing Well
Artist: Dillon Works
Location: Center Field Main Concourse
The Children's Hospital Wishing Well, designed by Dillon Works of Mukilteo and the Seattle Mariners, features a young child with a baseball bat preparing to swing for the fences. The Wishing Well also features waterspouts around the statue for a fountain effect, which is activated each time a Mariners player hits a home run. The Wishing Well is a permanent feature outside the Children's Hospital Playfield in Center Field on the Main Concourse Level.
Artist: Ross Palmer Beecher
Location: Main Concourse Right Field Gate
Seattle artist Ross Palmer Beecher created three large "quilts" made from pieces of found metal stitched together with red wire similar to the stitching on a baseball. Pieces of discarded pop cans and other metal containers create the logos of 30 Major League Baseball teams. The logos are "sewn" onto license plates of the states and Canadian provinces from which the teams hail, forming one quilt for the American League and one for the National League. The third quilt references the history of baseball in the Pacific Northwest from the Seattle Rainiers and Spokane Indians to the early days of the Mariners. A series of the images, again made of found metal objects, are "sewn" onto old Washington license plates. The quilt is bordered with a carved fir frame that is painted with familiar scenes from a baseball game.
Artist: Donald Fels
Location: West façade of the Safeco Field Parking Garage
Fall City artist Donald Fels created a series of metal relief sculptures of hands gripping baseballs for six basic pitches. Approximately three-and-a-half feet by four-feet and made of laser cut, etched, powder coated steel and aluminum, the pitches are mounted on every fourth column of the garage's exterior. On the other 18 columns, Fels etched one of the many rich idioms of baseball that have become commonplace in the American dialect. These include "out of left field" or "right off the bat." The idioms were sandblasted into the concrete columns and appear at eye level for the fans walking to the ballpark along the garage plaza. Fels also inlayed into the plaza sidewalk the outlines of a batter's box and pitcher's mound.
Positions of the Field
Artist: Tina Hoggatt
Location: Upper Concourse Third Base Line
Issaquah artist Tina Hoggatt created a series of porcelain enamel on steel panels, each portraying a figure from the history of baseball representing the nine positions of the field. The nine players represent the history and rich diversity of the game. They include players from the Negro Leagues, the All-American Girl's Baseball League, and the Japanese Professional Leagues in addition to Major League Baseball. The panels, measuring three-feet by five-feet, are flag-mounted to columns along the third base line of the Upper Concourse.
Collect'Ems (Out of Left Field); Ephemeral
Artist: Helen Lessick
Location: Center Field Gate
Seattle artist Helen Lessick created two separate works for Safeco Field. One is "ephemeral," designed to be enjoyed and even collected by fans at the game. The other is a series of five "baseball cards" with images and text that relay interesting facts about the gear, rules, and other aspects of the game and its history. Cards were distributed on specific nights and in specific locations during the opening season of Safeco Field. Lessick's porcelain enamel on steel panels are permanently displayed in the ballpark's Center Field entrance.
Artist: Ries Niemi
Location: Left Field, Center Field, Right Field Gates
An artist from Bow, Washington, Ries Niemi designed and fabricated a number of artworks on steel gates and fences on the exterior of the ballpark. Eight stainless steel cutout figures of pitchers captured in various points of the wind-up and release are integrated onto the fences along Royal Brougham Way. At the Center Field Gate, the "Batter's Fence" portrays the trajectories of baseballs leaving a bat. A plaque bearing the name of the hit, such as "bunt" or "pop fly" identifies each ball. In the Right Field corner, five life-size steel cutout figures of catchers in various classic poses are integrated within gates and fences. Finally, his signature piece is prominently located above the Left Field Gate. Ten life-size steel cutout figures assume classic poses of one of the nine player positions plus the batter. They are dressed and equipped from various eras of the game, recalling the grand heroes that can be found at the entry to Greek and Roman churches and arenas.
The Defining Moment
Artist: Thom Ross
Location: Left Field Gate
Seattle artist Thom Ross chose to capture one of the most exciting and "defining" moments in Mariners history-the moment the Mariners beat the New York Yankees in the 1995 American League Division Series. Edgar Martinez lined a double into left field scoring Ken Griffey Jr. and advancing the Mariners to the American League Championship Series for the first time. Ross's work is based on a photo from the Seattle Times that captured the action of the throw home, the slide and the umpire's "safe" call while ecstatic players leaped in the background. Each of the figures is painted on stainless steel, cut out and mounted in relief on a wall on the Main Concourse Level inside the Left Field Gate.
Artist: Stable (Linda Beaumont, Stuart Keeler and Michael Machnic)
Location: Home Plate Gate and Main Concourse
The artist group of Linda Beaumont, Stuart Keeler and Michael Machnic worked together to create a site-specific artwork involving many elements at and around the Home Plate Gate. The centerpiece of the work is a dramatic sculpture hanging from the center of the rotunda entrance. Hanging above the grand staircase is a chandelier of 1,000 translucent bats molded of resin and mounted on brushed aluminum spiraling forms. Lit with flickering incandescent lights, the piece conveys the power and movement of the swing of the bat. Fans enter the rotunda through gates designed by the artists. The gates are adorned with geometric steel patterns that evoke references to the field of play. Each gate set includes an ellipse-the pitcher's mound-in which text from the literature of baseball are etched.
The floor of the rotunda is colored with a rich mixture of sea foam greens and blues, suggesting a churning sea. Lighter colors at the floor's center evoke whitecaps and waves breaking against the grand stair, which is colored a rich earth tone. The color of the grand stair as it marches upward heightens the contrast of the bright green of the field, seen for the first time at the landing of the staircase.
At the landing is a 27-foot diameter terrazzo compass rose, the timeless icon of sea navigation and keystone of the Mariners logo. It captures elements of the history of baseball, including the history of this ballpark. Thirty-two mirrored cast glass rings, embedded within the terrazzo, surround stainless steel disks etched with the signatures of the inaugural team, thus providing a time capsule of the moment the ballpark officially opened on July 15, 1999. In addition, quotes from the rich literature of baseball ring the compass rose, enticing fans to step back into the legend and myth of the game.
Artist: Gerard Tsutakawa
Location: Left Field Gate
Seattle artist Gerry Tsutakawa created a cast bronze sculpture of the abstract form of a catcher's mitt or old-fashioned baseball glove. Standing nine feet tall and about 12-feet wide, The MITT has become an icon of Safeco Field and a place for fans to meet before or after the game. Near the center of the glove an aperture appears as an abstract symbol representing a ball nestled in the leather, or a hole where a fastball burned through. The sculpture is placed outside the gates to allow fans to touch, lean on or crawl through the work, giving the public a feeling of ownership of the piece.
Artist: Gu Xiong
Location: Center Field Gate Main Concourse
Chinese-born, Canadian artist Gu Xiong created a 24-foot long porcelain enamel on steel mural located in Center Field on the Main Concourse Level. The painting, representative of Gu Xiong's vibrant style of densely layered imagery, tells the story of the fans as well as the players of the game. The mural is divided into three parts, with the larger center panel painted with the diverse crowd of people who come to the ballpark. Interspersed among the enthusiastic faces are generic baseball cards, portraying classic poses found among players on the field. On the right panel are all manner of objects that might catch a foul ball in the stands - ranging from a mitt, to a hat, bell or soda cup. On the left panel you will find the array of items consumed or discarded at a game, such as hot dogs, popcorn boxes, and soda cups. On both side panels, Gu Xiong painted the portraits of more than 40 of baseball's greatest players. It is a stunning combination of historical reference and bright and active imagery.
Dave Niehaus Statue
Artist: Lou Cella
Location: Right-Center Field, Main Concourse (Section 105)
The bronze statue, created by Lou Cella, has many subtle touches, including a tie from Dave's collection (hand-picked by wife Marilyn and daughter Greta) and a scorebook open to Game 5 of the American League Division Series game against the Yankees (with Dave's actual notes from the game). The railing behind the statue, designed by Creo Industrial Arts of Everett, also features several of Dave's unforgettable phrases.