Think there isn’t much in common between golf and art? Think again. Next week, the Tacoma art community — spearheaded by Tacoma Art Museum and the city’s Arts Commission, and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts — will celebrate the U.S. Open in artistic style by opening its own course of 10 artist-designed minigolf holes. Pop-Up Art Putt will run June 18-21, offering minigolf enthusiasts the chance to play for free all over the museum’s plaza, Tollefson Plaza and the Prairie Line Trail, newly opened for pedestrians next door.
“We’re delighted to bring this playful activity to the public in celebration of the U.S. Open coming to town,” Tacoma Art Museum director Stephanie Stebich said in a news release. “As a golfer, I can’t wait to play.”
Stebich may be a golfer, but not all of the participating artists are. Among the holes is one designed around a railway by an artist who prefers hiking, one or two imitating pinball machines and one that doubles as a skateboard ramp. There’s also a hole built in the shape of a giant Pacific octopus, one shaped like a tiger, one a tropical jungle with Rube Goldberg-type obstacles, and two that are city models of Tacoma itself. All are competing for an audience-voted prize of $500.
The pop-up putt-putt course doesn’t just coincide with the U.S. Open — it also falls on a weekend that includes Art Walk (June 18, with food trucks, live music and beer), Go Skateboarding Day (June 20, with skateboard clinics and competitions) and the museum’s Summer Solstice Sculpture Festival (June 21, with free museum entry and activities). Add in some sunny weather and you’ve got plenty to amuse the folks who aren’t spending the day at Chambers Bay.
But of course, the holes themselves are the real draw. We pinned down five of the 10 artists to ask them: What’s your hole? How are you building it? And do you even like golf?
CHRIS SHARP, PAINTER
OLIVER DORISS, GLASS ARTIST
SEAN ALEXANDER, PEN-AND-INK ARTIST
GABRIEL BROWN, MIXED MEDIA
JORI ADKINS, ARCHITECT