Solar Portals, 2021

Michael Brown and David Cole
Michael Brown (American, born 1961); David Cole (American, born 1968)

Location: Orchard Elementary, Richland


Solar Portals is a playful exploration of light, shadow, color, and time. The artist team of Michael Brown and David Cole wanted to create an art experience that is playful, engaging, and thought-provoking. Their sculpture is a dome-shaped structure with twenty round windows that explore different effects related to light and the movement of the sun throughout the day. When students enter the artwork, they experience circles of color, patterns in light and dark, distortions, kaleidoscope effects, moiré patterns, and different ways to see the space around them. Brown and Cole note that “We want to make this a place where kids show each other things and feel creative.”

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with Richland School District.


The artist team of Michael Brown and David Cole make art installations that reconnect the viewer with their surroundings, their senses, and the joys of discovery. They describe their art as a “creation of conditions for individual discoveries by the viewer.” Their installations inspire people to interact with each other and their environment and stimulates curiosity. Brown and Cole are based in Oakland, California.
Michael Brown is a sculptor, designer, and installation artist. He works with museums to design exhibits that focus on inspiring greater interaction with visitors. He has been an artist-in-residence at The Exploratorium in San Francisco since 1992. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (1985) in theater and film from Humboldt State University in California.
David Cole’s art practice ranges from fine jewelry to public art and architectural details for historic buildings. He is a practicing metalsmith and a professor in the jewelry and metal arts program at California College of the Arts in Oakland, California since 2005. Cole earned a Master of Fine Arts (1993) in metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts (1990) in government at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

MediumStainless steel, polycarbonate, acrylic, aluminum, and glass
Dimensions6 ft x 12 ft diameter
ID NumberWSAC2016.030.000
Acquisition MethodSite responsive commission
Artist LocationCalifornia, United States
Location Information
AgencyRichland School District
Artwork LocationOrchard Elementary
Exterior, NW corner of school building
WA CountyBenton
Site TypePublic School
Address1600 Gala Way
Richland, WA 99352
Geo. Coordinates46.234469, -119.28938
Before VisitingSome artworks may be located in areas not accessible to the general public (especially in K-12 public schools). Consider contacting the site prior to a visit to ensure access.