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Seattle City Light, Pacific Science Center Start Work on Solar Art Project

Your Seattle City Light and Pacific Science Center started construction today on a solar-powered art installation at the science center called Sonic Bloom.


Artist's depiction of the Solar Bloom project.

Artist Dan Corson’s depiction of “Sonic Bloom.”

Your Seattle City Light and Pacific Science Center started construction today on a solar-powered art installation at the science center called Sonic Bloom.

Artist Dan Corson is installing five flowers up to 33 feet tall that will glow when the sun shines through the petals during the day and light up at night. Each is equipped with solar panels that will power the lighting along with additional solar panels on the roof of the science center.

You can watch the announcement here.

“It is exciting to showcase solar electricity generation and utilization in ways that go beyond what is normally expected of solar projects,” Corson said. “I am excited that Pacific Science Center and Seattle City Light partnered together to make this project happen and allowed me the opportunity to demonstrate my interest in merging nature and technology. I can’t wait until we all see and hear the realization of Sonic Bloom.”

Interpretive signage at the exhibition and inside Pacific Science Center will explain how solar energy works and how it is powering the flowers.

“Sonic Bloom is one way Pacific Science Center is bringing the science of sustainability to our community to help us understand options leading us to a healthier future for our planet.  By bringing art, science and education together, this project will be a teaching tool and source of inspiration for all ages for years to come,” said Bryce Seidl, Pacific Science Center’s president and CEO.


Photo of construction crew using heavy equipment.

Workers bore a hole for one of the foundations for “Sonic Bloom.”

The $240,000 project is being paid for with money from Seattle City Light’s Green Up program, which supports the development of new renewable energy resources. The program sets aside some of the money collected from participants to promote awareness of renewable energy.

“Sonic Bloom is a great opportunity to showcase in an artistic way how solar works in Seattle for the many visitors to Pacific Science Center and the neighboring Seattle Center,” City Light Conservation Resources Director Glenn Atwood said. “We hope that it also will inspire people to consider how they might incorporate renewable energy into their homes or businesses.”  

Sonic Bloom also is another example of how renewable energy investments are building the green economy and creating jobs in Washington. The 270 custom solar panels that will power Sonic Bloom are being made in Marysville by Silicon Energy.


Photo of construction workers using heavy equipment.

Workers set rebar for one of the “Sonic Bloom” foundations.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.  City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

The not-for-profit Pacific Science Center celebrated 50 years of discovery in October, 2012. Looking ahead to the decades to come, the Science Center is committed to repairing and refreshing its own historic campus so it can continue to inspire for generations to come while also increasing the public’s understanding of environmentally sustainable options in their own lives and homes.

Dan Corson is a prolific public artist and sculptor who served as Seattle City Light’s first artist in residence for the utility’s 1% for the Arts program. He holds a master of fine arts degree in sculpture from the University of Washington, was a Skowhegan Scholar at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and a Pilchuck Scholar at the Pilchuck Glass School. He created “Wave Rave Cave” under the Alaskan Way Viaduct for City Light in 2002 and “Rain Drum Courtyard” at the Cedar River Watershed Visitors Center in North Bend in 2001.