Breathing Lessons, South Seattle College, Seattle, Commissioned by Washington State Arts Commission Art in Public Places Program, 2004

An artwork encouraging students to engage in the learning process. Neon. 2 panels, each 11″h  x 171″w


Students, faculty and the community use the main interior corridor as a passage way to the center of campus. The passage becomes an important part of each student’s day and represents the journey of learning. The artwork encourages passersby to engage in the learning process. Coming to the college from the outside world (the south parking lot), the students/faculty/staff are greeted with a string of words relating to the process of acquiring knowledge (inhaling, if you will). When entering from campus, viewers are challenged to become actively engaged in the process of inquiry and discovery (exhaling into action).

The neon “pulses” along the string of words in accordance with the time it takes for one inhalation and exhalation. The sculpture was created using “classic neon” tubing in which the glass itself is colored. This results in a more subtle experience of the “on-off” sequence and allows each word to be read in succession.