Island Town Center sculptor Richard Beyer dies in New York

Richard Beyer created the statue of the amiable couple,
Richard Beyer created the statue of the amiable couple, 'Figures with basket,' at the corner of S.E. 28th Street and 78th Avenue S.E. at QFC on Mercer Island.
— image credit: Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo

Since 1995, Richard Beyer's sculptures in the Mercer Island Town Center have greeted Islanders as they come and go at perhaps the busiest intersection on the Island.

These pieces of very human art were crafted from aluminum by the same artist who created Seattle's perhaps best known public artwork, "Waiting for the Interurban," an image reprinted on millions of cards and posters promoting Seattle.

In the Town Center, Beyer's art, named "Growing up," includes a pair of teenagers lounging near the Coldwell Banker office, and an alligator lurking nearby. The amiable couple, "Figures with basket," at the corner of S.E. 28th Street and 78th Avenue S.E. at QFC are old and familiar friends.

Mr. Beyer, who had lived in Seattle and Okanogan County, died Monday in New York City. According to news reports, his family said he had a stroke March 27 and never regained consciousness. He was 86.

Mr. Beyer graduated from Columbia University, earned a master's degree in education in Vermont and moved to Seattle in 1957 to work on a Ph.D. at the University of Washington, where he apparently got distracted.

A piece in the Seattle Times stated that while working on his doctorate, Mr. Beyer picked up stone and woodcarving tools as a way to express his feelings about history, folk tales and current events. Some small pieces — human and animal — he carved for his children, then began to sell through a Seattle gallery.


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