From the Daily Olympian

From the Daily Olympian
Paul Donohue of Tenino wrote to the paper this week, announcing that Richard S. Beyer, the sculptor who created “The Kiss” sculpture located on Percival Landing in downtown Olympia, died last week at the age of 87 in New York City.

Also known as “The Kissing Couple” this aluminum cast sculpture with a romantic theme is perhaps Olympia’s most popular and well-known piece of public art.

Installed in 1990, the sculpture was donated to the City of Olympia by POSSCA and helped launch the city’s public arts program.

Beyer, who was Donohue’s brother’s father-in-law, was well-known for his public art here in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the United States and beyond. Between 1968 and 2006, he created more than 90 sculptures for public display, including “Waiting for the Interurban” in Seattle’s Fremont District.

Here in Olympia, Beyer had a major voice in where “The Kiss” was placed and settled on Percival Landing as a romantic setting, recalled Linda Oestreich, director of the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department.

The sculpture sits at the very southern terminus of Puget Sound. Glance to the north and Budd Inlet, the marinas and the Olympic Mountains come into view. Turn 180 degrees to the south and Heritage Park, Capitol Lake and the Capitol Dome are on display.

It’s an iconic view embellished with an iconic sculpture typical of Beyer’s work.

What Olympia lovers, young and old alike, haven’t kissed next to “The Kiss?” I have.

John Dodge
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