Donkey Run Away...

Industry Observer with ARFCO Media

Richard Beyer is one of my favorite sculptors here in the Pacific Northwest. His public art works are everywhere, and deservedly so. One of the most popular sculptures in Seattle is his...

Waiting for the Interurban.

The Interurban was a local rail system who’s first incarnation began with an electric streetcar line in 1889 and grew to provide cheap public transportation connecting Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and points in between. The sculpture’s joke is that (after over a half century) they’re still waiting at the stop on Fremont & 34th in Seattle for a ride to Everett. The Interurban was gone by 1940.

In old downtown Renton just south of the post office on Williams is Tonkin Park. I like this little triangle park. It’s a great place for a quiet moment and home of another Richard Beyer sculpture, “Donkey Run Away From the Mines.” 

The donkey was a perfect symbol for Renton with it's long coal mining history. Donkeys and mules were used in the coal mines to pull the coal wagons. Many of them spent their entire lives in the mine.

What I appreciate about Richard Beyer’s art is he sides with the public. They can be somewhat controversial and/or irreverent, yet to me they’re more conversational. They reflect the views and perspective you’d hear in the neighborhood.

I drive past here most every weekday going back and forth to work. It's one of my little shortcuts that long time residents know to get across town and beat the traffic. I can't tell you how many times in the rain, fog, snow, or sunshine I've caught the donkey out of the corner of my eye driving by and did a double take thinking it was real.

Posted by

René Fabre

"Where there's conversation, there's opportunity."

Please Note - The views expressed herein reflect only the individual’s personal views and are not the views of the author’s employer.

The Blackberry Chronicles, a blog by Rene Fabre and his travels around the Greater Pacific Northwest and beyond. Connect w/ Rene Fabre on Google+. Rene Fabre on Twitter. Rene Fabre writes reviews on Yelp. Rene Fabre on The Audiorium YouTube Channel by Rene Fabre. Rene Fabre loves digital photography and here are his shares on Flickr. Rene Fabre is a musician and composer and shares some of his orginal music and recordings on Soundcloud. Rene Fabre shares his interests on Pinterest.

Comments (12)

Krystal Knott
Christie's International Real Estate - Summit Colorado - Breckenridge, CO
Breckenridge CO Real Estate & All Summit County CO

Rene, what interesting information about a sculptor in your area.  It does seem he takes what he knows about the area and the people living in and sculpts accordingly.  I think those works of art are much more interesting because there is a story behind them.  Thanks for sharing!  --Krystal

Aug 08, 2011 12:09 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Thanks Krystal... agreed, I love the story behind and to me that's what Richard Beyer does so well.

Aug 08, 2011 12:21 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA

Hi René, I always love local items of interest that helps me be aquainted with an area other than SD. Next time I am there I will find this little triangular park and if no one is looking, climb on the donkey and take a photo. If there is someone looking, I will just pretend to be feeding it. 

Aug 08, 2011 12:49 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

William... That would be so funny! Let me know when you're coming and I'll take the photo!

Aug 08, 2011 12:55 PM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


I think that art that becomes a "landmark" is a testament to the artist;s vision! What a cool sculpture.

Aug 08, 2011 02:39 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Rene, I loved this peace of history. Since I was born in Hungary I really enjoyed Hungary Donkeys were considered as a Bearers of Good luck, so if you were on the road and saw one you were supposed to greet it as Hello Mr Donkey, bearer of Good fortunes:))

Aug 08, 2011 04:52 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Richard: Thanks, it is and Beyer gets that. That's why I say he sides with the public. The reviews he gets are a little testy, but what I feel about his work, and especially people talking about his work, is... they get it! What more could an artist want, and how cool that the works take on another life, one with the community. That speaks volumes to me!

Aug 08, 2011 06:19 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Endre: I like that, the donkey is a bearer of good fortune! I believe that.

Aug 08, 2011 06:20 PM
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Rene, very cool. I often wonder what sparks the artists imagination!

Aug 08, 2011 11:52 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Andrea: Me too and I think it's especially great when its something about everyday life.

Aug 09, 2011 04:07 AM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Rene,

That is a REALLY well fed donkey.

Where I grew up, most donkeys were pretty skinny!


Aug 09, 2011 05:26 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Phil: Eating lot's on the run? ha ha...

Aug 10, 2011 12:22 PM