On Friday, October 5 Washington Elementary hosted an art dedication assembly for the permanent art installation 'The Geode,' and its creator, artist Elizabeth Gahan.
Gahan’s inspiration came from a visit to the school while it was still under construction. There she observed the stairway space where the installation would ultimately go. “I’m very inspired by nature, and I thought the stairway space resembled a cave,” she said. “ I created The Geode because I could imagine beautiful crystals of many shapes and colors in the cave.” A geode is a round rock which contains a hollow cavity lined with crystals. The colorful acrylic three-dimensional “crystals” of the piece emerge and protrude from the school’s central stairwell ceiling and spread across the walls like a living and evolving entity.
Gahan wanted to create something experiential that was integrated into the school environment. “I love the location 'cause kids can walk past it and under it and through it, and it becomes part of their everyday life,” she said.
Crystals in nature form when liquids cool and start to harden over a long period of time. In contrast, The Geode was only two years in the making from conceptual design to installation. Through the collaboration of the Washington State Arts Commission in partnership with Wenatchee School District, Gahan was chosen out of 80 artists to create the custom piece for the school. “We were all really drawn to Elizabeth’s work because of the bright colors, and it’s ability to be abstract, yet relatable,” said Washington State Arts Commission project manager Marissa Laubscher.
“This really was a dream of mine and to see it now, it’s a reality,” Gahan said upon arriving at Washington for the dedication. She hopes the installation will inspire students to use their imaginations and that teachers will be able to integrate it into all aspects of classroom learning including science, math, and writing.
Thanks to a grant from The Woods Family Music and Art Fund and the Wenatchee Art Consortium, Gahn was able to return to Washington Elementary to see The Geoed in its new home. While at the school, she also visited classrooms where she shared her design process, talked about the use of geometric shapes and helped students visualize creating their own geodes using origami templates.