Mock-Delft sculpture columns
Southwest corner of NW 47th Street and 6th Avenue NW
The Ballard Sculpture Garden is so tiny that it barely even qualifies as a pocket park and the term garden is rather grandiose for what is here. It is better thought of as a whimsical art installation with benches.
The garden is located on a corner of the Seattle City Light System Control Station in Ballard. The artist is Jeffry Mitchell and the work was completed in 1995. In addition to the garden Mitchell also did the cement frieze that is on the curved side of the building facing west.
Parking is available on the street right in front of the garden on both 47th and 6th. The garden is close to the street and the plot of land is level so there are no real accessibility issues. Though there is no path from the city sidewalk into the garden so a wheelchair has to make it over a short stretch of lawn.
The art installation contains two benches facing a small central planting bed and several ceramic columns topped by what the artist called “prosaic garden sculptures.” The bases of the benches and the sculptures are mock-Delft in the traditional blue on white.
Because the garden is so small there’s not a lot to see in the usual sense. But if you enjoy the artwork you can spend quite a bit of time taking in the multitude of details of the fanciful art pieces.
If one of your hobbies is seeking out obscure public art you will likely want to put the Ballard Sculpture Garden on your list of places to go. If you are on an art outing I also recommend making a stop at A Salish Welcome. For the average person it’s probably not a place you’d want to make a special trip to see, but if you have a few spare minutes while in Ballard it’s a neat little place to make a brief stop at.
Things to Know
No picnic tables.
Street parking right in front of the garden. Most of the time you should have no trouble finding a spot.
The Ballard Sculpture Garden is used almost exclusively by locals. Even then I get the feeling that it isn’t used much at all in the sense of people actually entering the garden, rather than just looking at it while passing by.
However, that’s not to say you’ll experience complete solitude. I was here on a sunny weekday afternoon in June and a lot of people walked past on their way to and from other places.
Best light: Afternoon. Trees on the east side deeply shade the garden in the morning.