The PR people at Seahawks Stadium are wearing crazy high-tech sneakers, and about 20 minutes into my tour, I quite understand why. I am limping in my heavy black combat boots. I am thinking: bunionectomy. We walk and walk. Some of the stairs don't lead anywhere. We retrace our steps.

I love digressive tours, because you get to see stuff you wouldn't ordinarily see, such as the line of ambulance cots, still fresh in their packaging, waiting to be stained by blood and sweat. I'm here to see the 12 works of art that are the result of the $1.75 million Stadium Art Project, but you can't see the art without seeing the stadium, and there is a lot of stadium to see. It's astoundingly big, almost dehumanizingly so.

To this end, I have a short chat with Pablo Schugurensky, the art program's manager, about how art humanizes scale. All of the artists chosen to create art for the stadium worked with the stadium scale in mind, with some of them--such as Romson Bustillo and James Lavadour--making bigger paintings than they ever had before. Schugurensky points out how Peter Shelton's rockshadow, a cast-iron copy of a Cascades boulder, sited in a public plaza together with the original, brings the mountains down to the stadium; I think that, like a rock in a Japanese garden, it stands for the whole mountain. I'm usually not a huge fan of Shelton's work, but I like this one. It has a growing presence, and you just want to touch it (and you can).

Actually you can see the best of the work without ever going into the stadium: Robert Yoder's circles and dashes built into the sidewalk near the parking lot; Beliz Brother's groups of airport lights; Claudia Fitch's Colossal Heads, inspired by the Roman ur-stadium; and, my personal favorite, David Russo's Populi, shown on three outdoor screens, a film about a whirling iconic head taking a tour of the Northwest. This film, which shows every 15 minutes or so between ad banners and announcements, is set to Holst's The Planets, and may be shown before games as well, and on monitors throughout the stadium.

All this time, we're circling the field, flirting with it but not seeing it. It's like walking around in a medieval European city, through dark twisting streets, and then suddenly emerging in the cathedral plaza and falling to your knees. I walk out onto the bouncy state-of-the-art turf, and I drown a little.

emily@thestranger.com

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