SEATTLE — The renovated and expanded Seattle Asian Art Museum is finally re-opening to the public.
The work took two years and $56 million, but the museum now spans two wings and features centuries of art from around the world.
As soon as you walk in, look up to see an LED display called Gather. Created by Seattle artist Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn, it’s a modern piece with a pattern inspired by Asian art tradition.
“That really refers to Ikat or Sashiko Japanese textile,” said curator Xiaojin Wu.
There are 13 galleries, each with a different theme. The Divine Bodies room is a spiritual look at the human form.
"We have a little game in this room where you can match your own body to a mudras, which is a symbolic hand gesture,” said curator Ping Foong.
There are also breathtaking views of Volunteer Park, from floor-to-ceiling windows in the expanded portion of the building.
That's also where you'll find the sculpture Some/One by contemporary Korean artist Do-Ho Suh, made entirely of dog tags.
"He's really looking at the relationship between the individual and the larger society," Wu said.
It was too large for the museum prior to the renovation.
"It looks so stunning here,” Wu said. "This is just the perfect scale for it."
Visitors should allow two hours to explore, at least - and one trip may not be enough.
“I suggest you come back. Constantly," Foong said, laughing.
The grand re-opening kicks off with a ribbon-cutting at 8 am on Saturday, February 8. Tickets for the weekend are gone, but regular museum hours begin on February 12.
"We're one of the few stand-alone Asian art museums in the country, and our collection ranks top ten,” Wu said. "This is really a unique treasure for the people in Seattle."
The Seattle Asian Art Museum is located at 1400 E. Prospect Street.
Tickets are $14.99 for adults, $12.99 for seniors and members of the military, $9.99 for students and teens, and free for children under 14 and SAM members.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday.