Seattle Center

Paula Wissel

One Seattle man says he’s on a quest to expose why the Seattle Center blocked off use of power outlets in public spaces, and he is arguing his case before the Washington state Appeals Court today.

In September of 2012, Howard Gale noticed Seattle Center staff putting covers and padlocks on all of the electrical outlets, not long after the center had been remodeled and the outlets had been installed. 

Courtesy Pacific Science Center

It looks a bit like something you might find in a book by Dr. Seuss: five huge sculpted sunflowers with striped green and orange stems.

The new installation outside Seattle’s Pacific Science Center is meant to draw in and educate the public about solar power. 

The state auditor says the Seattle Center hasn't done a good job of making sure people pay at three city-owned parking garages. 

The three garages took in almost $5 million in revenue last year that went into the Seattle Center budget. State auditor Troy Kelley says he doesn’t have an estimate of how much money the Center may have lost out on, but he says his team found a lot of problems with record-keeping at the garages – one on Fifth Avenue North, one on Mercer Street and one on First Avenue North. 

Jake Ellison / KPLU

Earlier this month, we wrote about the creation of two huge “daddy longlegs” standing atop the roof of the Armory at the Seattle Center. The harvestmen, created by 3-D mural artist Marlin Peterson, cast long shadows and look pretty darn realistic (considering the widest span between leg tips is 100 feet).

Peterson has released a two-minute video showing the creation of the spiders from concept to paint:

Jake Ellison / KPLU

Sure there was “ooh” and “aah” and “wow” from the top of the Space Needle on a sunny afternoon overlooking Seattle earlier this week, but then came “Oh my god!” and “What is that?” and “That’s amazing.”

The culprit?

Two 60-plus-foot “daddy longlegs” standing atop the roof of the Armory at the Seattle Center, casting long shadows and looking all the world like they could be real (if our universe allowed such things).

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Just steps away from the Monorail station at the Seattle Center, a wall is being constructed out of Jell-O.  A lightweight mortar holds the raspberry, orange and blackberry fusion "bricks" in place.   

The Jell-O brick wall is the work of sculptors Lisa Hein and Robert Seng. It was commissioned as part of the 50 year celebration of the Seattle World's Fair.

The Associated Press

Marking the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Emerald City will host its first-ever Seattle Science Festival next month.

The festival has landed a major celebrity as one of it’s so-called “Luminaries.”  Steven Hawking, the British physicist known for writing about the history of the universe, will speak on June 16th, at the Paramount Theater. 

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Less than two years after the idea was pitched to the public, a new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition opens today (Monday 11am) at Seattle Center.

It’s located at the foot of the Space Needle, where the kiddy rides and arcade games of the old Fun Forest once drew crowds.

Now, people are standing on tiptoes to peer in through the fence around the outdoor displays, which beckon with flashes of color.  

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Dozens of works of art and performance art pieces have been commissioned for the months-long celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of  the 1962 World's Fair.

Wander around the Seattle Center campus and you're likely to encounter one of the temporary art installations. 

The Associated Press

Fifty years ago this weekend Seattle kicked off it’s biggest event ever -- the Century-21 World Exposition. Now, city leaders are hoping the public will come check-out what the fairgrounds have become, the city's arts campus. 

Seattle Center now attracts more visitors per year than the World’s Fair did during its six-month run. That’s partly thanks to some major events, such as Bumbershoot and the Folklife Festival, as well as concerts in Key Arena.

How is an award-winning but bankrupt theater any different than say…Enron? Or a wayward lover? Or a drug addict?

Those are the kind of questions that have been on the minds of some long-time subscribers to Seattle’s Intiman Theatre.

Its board of directors is deciding whether to stay open or call it quits. They say they’ll re-launch if they’ve met a million-dollar fundraising goal before their meeting tonight (Monday, at 4 pm.)

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

If you’ve ever been past the huge new Gates Foundation campus near Seattle Center and wondered what goes on inside – your time has come.

The foundation is opening up its doors, at least a little bit. This weekend, a new visitor center opens to the public.

Read more at KPLU's Humanosphere.

Robin Cedar / KPLU

What was once a Fun Forest will soon be “ Chihuly Garden and Glass.”

Artist Dale Chihuly officially broke ground today on a 1.5 acre exhibition space in the Seattle Center. The gallery will include a garden, bookstore and café. It’s set to open in the spring of 2012. Just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is trying to make its work more conspicuous.  That’s one explanation the billionaire couple gave for its new campus during a grand-opening event Thursday night.

About a thousand people packed into the campus' new grand atrium, which has a wall of glass four stories tall. 

Bill Gates spoke briefly, thanking his parents for setting an example of civic volunteerism. He quickly turned the microphone to his wife, saying, "The person who really had responsibility was Melinda, and let me thank her as I invite her to the stage."

Tom Paulson / KPLU-Humanosphere

More than a thousand workers at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have moved into their new campus across the street from Seattle Center. Celebrations are planned tonight (Thursday) and this weekend. Foundation leaders say they want to be more visible to the public.

(A public open-house is this Saturday, from 10am-4pm. Advance registration is required, here.)

NBBJ Architects

Everything about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is looking big these days.

File photo / AP

More than 200,000 people are expected to visit the Seattle Center over the Memorial Day Weekend for the 40th annual Folklife Festival.

About 1,000 music, dance and other events are scheduled over four days, starting Friday, at indoor and outdoor sites. The festival also includes food and craft booths.

Giant Magnet

The final Giant Magnet Children’s Festival is underway in Seattle. It’s the 25th year of the event which aims to introduce young audiences to the world - it's people, customs and cultures.  

Studio 216 / Owen Richards Architects

[UPDATE/CORRECTION: Bumbershoot's Visual Arts Exhibits will move from the Northwest Rooms to Seattle Center Pavilion and the adjacent courtyard.]

The Space Needle’s owners get a Chihuly museum, a community radio station gets a new home and Bumbershoot’s visual art space gets, well, nobody seems to be sure.

Get out your angst, frustration, or joyful inner child. Seattle is ready to stage its third Pillow Fight.

The 2008 event at the Pike Place Market was the first-ever held in Seattle, a worldwide event with 'fights' now staged in 115 cities, called International Pillow Fight Day. 

Gray Davis / KPLU

The Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival starts today. This year, the annual event isn’t just a celebration of spring. Organizers say it’s also an opportunity to work through feelings about the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan last month.


Seattle's venerable end of summer music festival is making changes to avoid a repeat of last year's event: disappointing ticket sales. Festival organizers cited heavy rains for keeping people away, but the changes suggest last year's tickeing schemes may have played a role.

Bumbershoot producer One Reel announced it will drop a discount ticket plan that excluded main stage shows. Instead, it will return to tickets good for all shows, according to The Seattle Times.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

An ancient cedar tree was delivered earlier today (Tuesday) to the Seattle Center. Several totem poles carved from it in public will commemorate the life and art of native carver John T. Williams.

His shooting by a Seattle police officer last August has escalated tensions between law enforcement and people of color. But Williams' family says the "carve-in" that has just begun is about remembering his cultural legacy. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It looks like the Seattle Center Food Court will soon be run by a concessionaire that has current contracts with Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo. 

The Seattle Center has announced a letter-of-intent with Lancer Hospitality. 

The space was built originally as an armory, completed in 1939.  Located at the base of the Space Needle, it was famous in the 1970s for the Bubbleator amusement ride (now in Burien) and for at that time newfangled food attractions, such as Orange Julius smoothies. 

Office of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has given his approval for a Dale Chihuly glass-art exhibit to replace the Fun Forest at the Seattle Center, plus a new home for radio station KEXP and a children’s playground.  

Governor to announce $5 billion budget cut plan, war claims a soldier from Yelm, and Seattle Center's big announcement today.

Flickr/Life As Art

The decision about what will replace the Fun Forest at Seattle Center is still up in the air. This fall, a review panel recommended converting it into an exhibition space celebrating local glass artist Dale Chihuly.

That proposal promises millions in much-needed revenue. But the backers of several other ideas haven’t given up hope.


A futuristic Ferris Wheel is causing a flap in Seattle. 

The Seattle Center has announced  it is planning to install an extra-tall "observation wheel" reminiscent of the British capital's London Eye.  It will go up in April and remain for 18 months on the site of the Fun Forest for the Center's 50th anniversary, commemorating the 1962 World's Fair.