ARLINGTON – Offering a place to sit and admire the greenery or take a load off during a walk, the city just installed two “art” benches along the new Arlington Valley Road Trail.
The benches were created by Arlington stone artist Verena Schwippert.
The two benches were selected for their natural beauty and sustainability, community revitalization project manager Sarah Lopez said. City officials also sought a concept that best connected with the industrial nature of the area.
The bench to the north end of the road, titled “Ottoman,” is polished yellow granite containing black garnet crystals on a black granite riser and resting on a reddish marble base.
To the south, the second stone work, “Pause,” uses a four-and-a-half foot natural slab of polished Cascade granite for seating, on a base of salt and pepper colored risers.
Don’t ask Schwipper to choose her favorite.
“Oh, they’re so different,” she said. “I like working on the natural rock just a little bit, like this ‘Pause.’ These can last 20,000 years. And ‘Ottoman’ I like because it’s unique; yellow granite is rare.”
Her previous creations in granite are on display along the Arlington Art Work, including “Waterline” in Lebanon Park, and “Salmon Spawning Pool bench” and “Dedicated to the Beauty of Earth” stone sculptures along the Centennial Trail.
The Arlington Arts Council and the city’s Public Art Committee put out a call for artists last year, with design recommendations made in November. The pieces to be added to the city’s public art collection cost $6,500, paid for through a recently established Art Fund supported by 10% of construction sales tax proceeds.
Arlington’s byway for industry opened in March. The three-lane road about three quarters of a mile in length links 74th Avenue NE to 191st Place NE, providing an easier and more direct way for local businesses to move freight through the industrial area around 67th Avenue to nearby highways.
The winding route also features a wide paved pathway along the west side, where the benches were installed. Arlington Valley Road passes behind the former Northwest Hardwoods Mill, which is being redeveloped for Gayteway Business Park.