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A Place for People:
The Herbert Bayer Earthworks 

Opening Day, 1982


Paul_soloPaul Rucker, 2007
25th Anniversary Celebration

Bayer at easel

Herbert Bayer, 1985
(photo: Paul Hobson)


Video Clip 1  start 11:41 / end 14:30  

Video Clip 2   start 0:37 / end 2:40 

Video Clip 3  start 8:39 / end 9:48 

Video Clip 4 start 1:30 / end 3:15


A Place For People: The Herbert Bayer Earthworks provides an overview of how this icon of green infrastructure came to be built and how it has evolved over time.  

In the 1970s, a group of women living in Kent desired to start an arts commission. Their plans quickly became intertwined with the broader history of public art in our region. Installed in 1982, the Earthworks was immediately lauded for its fusion of art and infrastructure, yet the issues that initially necessitated the project have intensified. Changes in storm water and fisheries regulations have impacted the work, prompting a cross-disciplinary investigation into the artist Herbert Bayer's original intent, his biography and his influence. In 2008, the Earthworks was designated an "exceptionally significant" local landmark, just prior to a major dam safety construction project. Today, as the Earthworks is being renovated, the Kent Arts Commission continues to host contemporary dance performances and eco-art installations at the site. 


Originally created for the Americans for the Arts earthworks tour, the premiere public screening of this documentary took place at the Henry Auditorium on Thursday, September 24, 2009. The evening began with a cello performance by the composer Paul Rucker, who also contributed the soundtrack.

A Place for People: The Herbert Bayer Earthworks will be available as a DVD for purchase in the near future. If you are interested in reserving a copy or have other questions, please contact Ronda Billerbeck at rbillerbeck@kentwa.gov


This documentary is a collaboration between many organizations and individuals, including the Kent Arts Commission, the Kent Landmarks Commission, the City of Kent Cultural Division, Parks Planning and Maintenance, Environmental Engineering and Multimedia. A special thanks to Seth Frankel for co-directing/producing and editing. We would like to take this opportunity to thank 4Culture, King County Historic Preservation Program, University of Washington's Department of Landscape Architecture's Construction/Hydrology Studio, SvR Design, Kent Historical Society, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and Seattle Art Museum as well as all of the artists, landscape architects and historians who participated in the "channeling herbert" exhibition. We gratefully acknowledge all of the Kent community members who supported the installation of the Bayer Earthworks, as well as everyone involved in the "Earthworks: Land Reclamation as Sculpture" symposium.