Lincoln Avenue, Yakima, Washington, 2017
Bins of Light is a portal integrated into an underpass that passes beneath a BNSF freight rail line and frontage road in downtown Yakima, in Central Washington. The art draws on Yakima’s past and present role as a locus of fruit growing, storage, packaging, and transport, transposing the iconic form of stacked fruit bins that surround the site into a stack of "light bins" that are the same dimensions as the fruit bins. Activated by both sunlight and electric light, the art also reflects the Yakima Valley’s deep relationship with light. The portal is dynamic and engaging at all times of day and night.
The light bins are clad in laminated colored glass on the side facing traffic below on Lincoln Avenue. Several glass panels are overlaid with a printed image of fruit set into packing trays. On the opposite side, facing Front Street, the bins are clad in laser-cut aluminum panels depicting local fruit label graphics. The artists worked with the community to select the label graphics and then simplified and abstracted them to create the artwork.
During the day, as sunlight moves across the site, lighting on the bins changes. In the morning the front of the glass panels are brightly lit. In the late afternoon the low western sun hits the cut-out side, causing sunlight to stream through the openings and project reverse images of the designs onto the backs of the glass panels.
At night the light boxes are lit from within with white LED strip lights. When trains come through town the lights turn off and then come back on through phases, referencing the unstacking and stacking of fruit bins that occurs behind the portal. This occurrence also happens hourly.
The metal work was fabricated by Atomic Fabrications, glass made by Glasmalerei Peters Studios, and installation by Belsaas & Smith.