Circle of Light, 1992

Richard C. Elliott
(American, born 1945, died 2008)

Location: Yakima Valley SunDome, Yakima


Late artist Richard C. "Dick" Elliott’s Circle of Light used geometric patterns to encircle the outside edge of the Yakima Valley SunDome roof "like a hatband for the Dome" (in Central Washington). There are twenty-four different panels and patterns across 880 feet of roofline. Six of the designs draw inspiration from local, traditional Yakama Native American basketry patterns. Elliott used over 48,000 3-inch industrial highway reflectors to create the detailed patterns. Each reflector catches the Yakima sunshine. Together they create a beautiful monument to light and color.

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with Yakima County Commission.


Late artist Richard C. "Dick" Elliott (1945-2008) is known for his large installations created with industrial highway reflectors. His art uses light, color, and radiant geometric patterns to explore the variations of light and interactions between colors. He called it "painting with light" and described how "I was driving the county highways and noticing that these little specks of light would come up out of nowhere, they would get really intense, and then disappear... And I discovered that they were reflectors!" Most of Elliott's work and life was based in Ellensburg, Central Washington, and he was an important contributor to its visual arts community.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Dick Elliott earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Washington University in Ellensburg in 1971. He joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program and served in an Alaska Native community (1966-67), and with the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay, Washington (1968-69) -- these years were very important to him. In the 1980s, he began to explore primary colors and light-active materials. By 1987, he decided to focus on the reflector as his medium of choice. During the 1990s and 2000s, Elliott received over twenty public art commissions, including at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, and in Times Square, New York City. During the last year of his life while he was physically limited by pancreatic cancer, he created computer-generated prints using thousands of colors and geometric designs. In 2007, Elliott was honored with a Washington State Governor's Arts and Heritage Award and the national "Recognition for Innovation in Public Art" award from Americans for the Arts.

MediumReflectors on concrete
Dimensions5 ft 4 in x 880 ft overall (24 designs: 5 ft 4 in x 36 ft 8 in each)
ID NumberWSAC1992.125.00A-X
Acquisition MethodSite responsive commission
Artist LocationWashington, United States
Location Information
AgencyYakima County
Artwork LocationYakima Valley SunDome
On building exterior, encircling the roof-line
WA CountyYakima
Site TypeOther
Address1301 South Fair Avenue
Yakima, WA 98901
Geo. Coordinates46.589086, -120.486514
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