JANUARY 13, 1997
Kids line up to shape-shift themselves with dsitortion mirrors at the Fun Mirrors exhibit at Ricketts Auditorium in Bothell.
Photo by Andrew Walgamott.
by Andrew Walgamott
Kids from Celia Wilson's fourth grade Westhill Elementary class had a great time at Ricketts Auditorium in Bothell last Thursday. Some miniaturized themselves while others became very tall with long, dangling arms.
No, it wasn't a science experiment gone awry. It was the public unveiling of Fun Mirrors, created by a unique partnership between the Washington State Arts Commission Art in Public Place Program and the inmates and staff at the Department of Corrections (DOC), Correctional Industries Division, at Walla Walla State Penitentiary.
Set up at Ricketts, Fun Mirrors is a brightly painted ten-foot tall cabinet containing two imbedded distortion mirrors and a wizard juggling stars on top. It was designed to promote exploration and interaction among students and provide opportunities for learning about optics. It was an instant hit with the kids.
"It's imaginative and fun. You can look fat or skinny!" said Heather Flaherty, admiring the mirror work.
"It's pretty cool; it inspires me. If you could miniaturize it, I would put it in my room," said an enthusiastic Ian Donahue.
Fun Mirrors is constructed of steel and wood and is flanked by four magic cats atop eleven foot steel poles.
Fun Mirrors, created by Seattle artist Timothy Siciliano, is part of a program that matches artists' ideas with DOC fabrication facilities. The purpose is to make creative structures for organizations with limited budgets, like Northshore School District.
Called Limited Edition Artists' Designs, (LEAD) the joint effort creates objects specifically for schools, including playground equipment, schoolroom furniture, and other functional works. LEAD designs are kept to a minimum of twelve editions.
With their involvement, the DOC hopes to positively affect young peoples' lives. In the past, the DOC has fully funded Native American exhibits and other collections touring public schools.
Fun Mirrors cost $6,500 for Northshore to acquire.
"The partnership is exciting," said Northshore Communications Director Pamela Steele. "I think there is educational value for all members of the partnership. I think it's an example from which other states could derive equal benefits."
The exhibit is open to the public at Ricketts Auditorium in Bothell, 18315 Bothell Way NE, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Call 489-6000 to set up a time to have fun with Fun Mirrors.