Yakima Illuminations

Yakima, Washington 2008-10

Yakima Illuminations: Bins of Light is an integrated public art feature encompassing the future underpasses on Lincoln Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard in downtown Yakima, which will pass under BNSF railroad tracks and Front Street. 

The art draws from the historic district’s past and present role as the locus of fruit storage, packaging, and transport, using the iconic form of the fruit bin and crate label graphics.  Using color activated by both the sun and night illumination, the art will be dynamic and engaging at all times of day for both drivers and those walking in the historic district. 

The Lincoln Avenue portal consists of a stack of fruit bins, abstracted into light boxes. The "bins of light" are the actual size and shape of the fruit bins in the railroad yards behind the portal.  The outer faces are translucent colored glass in Yakima Valley fruit colors.  Some include apple images.  The inner faces of the light boxes (to be viewed from Front Street) are anodized aluminum plate laser-cut with logos and typography from Yakima’s historic fruit crate labels.

Light activates the art in a variety of interesting ways.  The portals face east and west, so are back-lit and front-lit by low sunlight, either in the morning or evening depending on orientation.  During the day the cut-out images are backed by the glowing translucent glass color.  When the metal side is front-lit, the sun casts onto the glass a reverse-image of the metal cut-out.  This image will “move” across the glass over the course of the day. 

At night, the boxes are internally lit with LEDs. When trains come through town an electronic eye will trigger the lights to turn off, and then come on through 6 phases, referencing the “stacking” of fruit bins.

Greenbridge is a 569 unit mixed-income housing development that also includes parks, trails, retail, a community center, and a school. Many of the residents are be new immigrants. Laura Haddad designed art for two of the parks, and a plaza.