Sign Up for the FREE Mobile Trail Pass.
! -- End Weglot -->
Artist Robert Morris removed undergrowth from an abandoned 3.7-acre gravel pit in SeaTac, terraced the earth, and planted it with rye grass. Morris returned the land to active use — 40 years later, we value it as a gathering place and internationally-celebrated destination.
Johnson Pit #30 was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in October, 2021 for “significant contribution to the broad patterns of history,” embodiment of “distinctive characteristics,” and “high artistic values.” A contemporary earthwork has never received such status.
"The Earthwork was the first publicly funded project to reclaim an industrially-abused site with art."
- The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The next time you're in Peru, check out the Muyu-Uray Amphitheater. It's a culturally significant attraction with a fascinating backstory.
The next time you're in Seattle Southside, check out the Robert Morris Earthwork. It too is a culturally significant attraction with a fascinating backstory. But unlike the amphitheaters in Peru, it's not 4870 miles away.
First, the backstory. 40 years ago, this place was a pit, literally. An abandoned gravel pit. It was a dumping ground on a landscape that looked out over Mount Rainier and the Kent Valley. Seeing an opportunity to rehabilitate the land artist, Robert Morris was commissioned to restore it to active use while creating an historic piece of art. Inspired by the ancient terraces of Peru, Morris carved concentric circles that descended to the base of the pit. Then he planted the slopes with wild rye grass, preserving the views over the valley. Believing that art has a responsibility to challenge the viewer, Morris left a row of blackened tree stumps reminding all of us of the cost of unchecked environmental practices.
Today, the Robert Morris Earthwork is recognized as the first permanent land reclamation sculpture in the country, possibly the world. It's art and it's a link from our past to our future.
Visit Robert Morris Earthwork in SeaTac.
The artwork is managed by 4Culture and is part of the King County Public Art Collection.
Credit: Robert Morris (1931-2018). Untitled Earthwork (Johnson Pit #30), 1979. SeaTac, WA. 4Culture/King County Public Art Collection
Address: 21630 37th Pl S, SeaTac, WA 98198
Social: Facebook | Instagram
As a part of our Seattle Southside Scene series focused on the arts, culture, and history of the region, we…
From Bigfoot in the Cascades, to UFOs over Mount Rainier, to D.B. Cooper parachuting into thin air, Washington State is…
At first glance, Seattle Southside might not seem like a destination of mystery and intrigue like Transylvania or Wiltshire, England…
Add your photos to Instagram when you check-in and use #SeattleSouthsideScenes for a chance to be featured on the Seattle Southside website.