Earth Day Rewind: 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃 Episodes 1–3

Since 2022, we’ve followed the adventures of Bobby McCullough, SAM Facilities and Landscape Manager, at the Olympic Sculpture Park as part of our video series 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃. In each episode, Bobby offers viewers an up-close look at the natural ecosystems living and thriving at the park as well as insight into its continued development and the art that resides within it. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, we’re taking it back to the beginning with a round up of the series’s first three episodes.

More episodes of 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃 are on the way! Until then, catch up on all eleven available episodes via our YouTube channel.


Episode 1: Bobby’s Top Five Favorite Plants

SAM is lucky to have a beautiful piece of earth to take care of: the Olympic Sculpture Park. And Bobby McCullough is dedicated to doing just that! In this inaugural episode of 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃, SAM’s Facilities and Landscape Manager discusses his five favorite natural plants visitors can find at the park: Check out our first installation of Botany with Bobby for his top five favorite plants at the park.

Episode 2: Climate Change at the Olympic Sculpture Park

The effects of climate change can be seen in local and global environments both big and small. In this episode, Bobby shares how its effects have manifested in the native plants living and growing at the Olympic Sculpture Park, paying particular attention to the Dawn Redwood—a plant previously believed to be extinct in the United States—and the Ginkgo Biloba.

Episode 3: King Bunny 🐰

The Olympic Sculpture Park’s booming rabbit population can be linked back to one particular coney: 👑 King Bunny. In this episode, Bobby spots King Bunny among the park’s plants and shares his admiration for the illusive four-legged ‘beast.’ Be sure to keep an eye out for this mischievous long-eared mammal next time you’re at the park!

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo: L. Fried.

Goodbye, 2022: Looking Back on an Unforgettable Year at SAM

We’re closing out another amazing year at SAM and want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support over the last year as we connected art to life in new ways across the Pacific Northwest. From beach cleanups at the Olympic Sculpture Park, Summer at SAM, endless gallery tours, SAM Remix, new exhibitions and installations—including Frisson: The Richard E. Lang & Jane Lang Davis Collection, Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective, Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time, Lauren Halsey, Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water, Indigenous Matrix: Northwest Women Printmakers, Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on the Classical Forms, Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure, Anthony White: Limited Liability, American Art: The Stories We Carry, and Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue—educational lectures series, community celebrations, and so much more, we couldn’t have done it without you. Browse the slideshow below for a recap of all the memories we’ve made with you this year.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2023—cheers!

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo Credits: Alborz Kamalizad, Chloe Collyer, L. Fried, and Natali Wiseman.

Noticed: Down The Rabbit Hole

Welcome to Noticed, in which we spot connections among, within, and without the walls of the museum.

The last few years in Seattle, it’s been the talk of gardeners, naturalists, parkgoers, and urban dog walkers alike: What’s up with all these rabbits everywhere?

That question was also the headline of a recent feature in the Seattle Times’ Pacific NW Magazine, in which reporter Brendan Kiley investigated the seeming population boom across Western Washington of the Sylvilagus floridanus, or Eastern cottontail rabbit. His journey brought him to the domain of one very special rabbit: King Bunny.

That’s the name given by SAM staff to a particularly large, healthy, and seemingly prolific rabbit who resides in the Olympic Sculpture Park with his many friends and offspring. Kiley spoke with SAM’s Facilities and Landscapes Manager, Bobby McCullough, about King Bunny and Co.’s frolics around the nine-acre sculpture park, where they chomp on grass and clover, attempt to avoid predators and excited leashed dogs, and, we hope, enjoy the monumental sculptures that fill their home. King Bunny can be tough to spot, so don’t miss SAM’s latest installment of “Botany with Bobby,” our TikTok series exploring the sculpture park, in which Bobby tracks his friend down for all of us to see. McCullough also shared his perspective on what to do—if anything—about their increased presence.

“The park’s S. floridanus population has spiked in the past three or so years, McCullough says, and bunny-noticers have divergent attitudes. Some feel protective, calling for a gardener to ‘Do something!’ if they find a rabbit half-chewed by a raptor. Others regard the critters as a problem, suggesting McCullough set out traps and poison bait. ‘As long as I’m working here, that won’t happen,’ he says. ‘I get more joy from seeing them sunning themselves on the grass than frustration at chewed-down fern fronds.’”

McCullough’s live-and-let-live approach to the rabbits must have had an effect, because once we started seeing bunnies around the sculpture park, we noticed that they were simply…everywhere. Back indoors at the Seattle Art Museum, local artist Anthony White celebrates his Betty Bowen Award win with his solo exhibition, Limited Liability. The artist is known for his densely packed compositions that he painstakingly “paints” with PLA (a melted biodegradable plastic, primarily used for 3D printing). Crammed with recognizable products, name-brand logos, and digital logos, they pull you down the rabbit hole of our increasingly intertwined analog and digital lives. They’re also a few literal rabbits dotting these Y2K-nostalgia landscapes: a self-portrait of the artist in the all-too-familiar pose of gazing at a smartphone screen in bed includes a number of bunnies hopping around his aura like phantoms; up above is a ransom-note scrawl saying, “SILLY RABBIT, YOUR IPHONE STORAGE IS FULL.” And the smallest painting in the exhibition hangs above them all at the entrance like an idol: An Energizer Bunny seen behind a cracked cell phone screen, questioning the relentless pursuits of capitalism.

Of course, bunnies aren’t always harbingers of doom. Kiley’s story also notes the diverse cultural meanings of rabbits: “Old stories characterize the rabbit as arrogant (Greece), cowardly (Tibet), a great warrior (China), tricky (lots of places) and prototypical prey (lots of other places).” He notes their association with fertility in early Christian Europe and their appearance as a resilient “catch-me-if-you-can” figure in Puget Sound stories of Snoqualmie, Puyallup, Muckleshoot and other traditions. SAM’s global collection is a veritable rabbit hunt; one work on view right now at the Seattle Asian Art Museum is a beloved late 19th-century Japanese netsuke of an ivory hare (we know, it’s technically a different species, just go with it) with real amber eyes. Barely an inch all around, it’s a noticeably smaller presence than King Bunny, and it’s not as difficult to spot as it’s protected in a glass case, but in its tiny form and glittering eyes it makes a charming and surprisingly powerful impact. We think it’s wise to keep a close eye… just in case.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Images: Installation view of HYPNOSIS (detail) as part of Anthony White: Limited Liability at the Seattle Art Museum, 2022, Photo: Alborz Kamalizad. Netsuke modeled as a hare with amber eyes, Japanese, late 19th century, ivory, amber, 1 1/16 x 7/8 x 1 1/8 in., Duncan MacTavish Fuller Memorial Collection, 33.438, Photo: Elizabeth Mann.

Muse/News: Studio Time, Singing Stories, and Russell’s Legacy

SAM News

Following up on their review of the “captivating” Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure, the Seattle Times makes a very cool connection to the exhibition’s focus on Giacometti’s studio space by going behind-the-scenes into the creative spaces of five local artists, all of whom have connections to SAM: Marita Dingus, Romson Bustillo, Barbara Earl Thomas, Aramis O. Hamer, and Jake Prendez. Thanks to Jerald Pierce for the peek into their practices!

Just opened at the Seattle Asian Art Museum: Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on the Classical Forms. Capitol Hill Seattle Blog’s Alex Garland captured photos at the press preview of the dynamic exhibition and KNKX’s Grace Madigan reported on its connection to a University of Washington class taught by the exhibition curator, Foong Ping. 

“What’s up with all these rabbits everywhere?” asks Brendan Kiley for the Seattle Times’ Pacific NW Magazine. For the story, he met up with Bobby McCullough, Facilities and Landscape Manager at the Olympic Sculpture Park, to go in search of King Bunny, a resident bunny who may be responsible for a good number of the 500+ rabbits who make the sculpture park their home. P.S. Check out our video series Botany with Bobby for more stories from the park.

Dhyana Levey for Tinybeans with “The Ultimate Guide to Seattle’s Free (& Cheap) Museum Days,” including the downtown museum and the Asian Art Museum, both of which welcome children 14 and under for free—all the time!—and the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is just plain free to everyone. 

Local News

“Nick Garrison, a theatrical force in Seattle and beyond, dies at 47”: For the Seattle Times, David Schmader writes a fitting tribute for a beloved star gone too soon.

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede wrote a visual arts story! Everyone gather round! Here’s his take on the Romare Bearden exhibition now on view at the Frye Art Museum. 

Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies project, which launched in June, is still delivering. Here, project editor Jasmine Mahmoud writes about singer Ernestine Anderson, who had a voice like “honey at dusk.”

“Ernestine was jazz and blues personified — she musically participated in both worlds,” daughter [Shelley] Young says of her mother’s musical impact. “Singing the blues involves storytelling,” she continues, “and she loved telling a story.”

Inter/National News

Speaking of studio visits: it’s a recurring series at Artnet.

Beat the heat with this listicle: “ARTnews’ 10 Best Art Books for Summer Reading.”

The world lost several important artist-activists last week: actors Mary Alice and Nichelle Nichols and N.B.A. legend Bill Russell. Explore Russell’s legacy in several articles from the New York Times, including this one on his pioneering activism.

“[Former Seattle SuperSonic Spencer] Haywood said in an interview on Sunday that he and Russell would often dine at a Seattle restaurant called 13 Coins after road trips, and Russell would regale him with stories about the civil rights movement.”

And Finally

Michelangelo Matos on the sources of Beyoncé’s “Renaissance.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alberto Giacometti working on the plaster of the Walking Man, 1959, Photo: Ernst Scheidegger, Archives, Fondation Giacometti, © 2022 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLiterris, Zurich.

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