By Alec Clayton
On the night after winter solstice when our days were the shortest and our nights the darkest, nine glowing monoliths in florescent colors appeared on the grassy mound beside the lake at Heritage Park and lit up the blackness of night with the lighted dome of the State Capitol in the background. Other than a handful of people who knew it was going to happen and people who happened to pass by in their cars or on foot, few people saw this phenomenon.
But it is coming again on the night of February 6 (barring terrible weather).
Glowhenge is an art project created by Dave Sederberg with the help of a few of his friends and family members including Sederberg’s daughter Whitney, Andre Maxwell, Natalie Coblentz and Daniel Whitehouse, and the addition of a lantern procession provided by Nichole Rose.
“When Dave called me up to explain his idea, I thought it was a delight — a celebration of the solstice with black lights and spray paint, I’m in!,” Coblentz exclaimed. “Gathering artists to do a pop-up art exhibit in the park is exactly what Olympia needs.”
Coblentz identifies as a queer Latinx artist who moved to Olympia from San Francisco two years ago. She currently has an LED light installation in the window of Olympia Lamp Lighters on Fourth Avenue entitled Savage Queer.
Whitehouse said, “When Dave asked me if I wanted to help with an art project, I jumped at the chance to work with him. Dave is a very talented artist and a mover and shaker in our community. I felt honored to be asked.”
Sederberg is the owner of Pacific Stage, known in the Olympia area for doing lights and sound and general staging over the past 25 years for such events as Music in the Park and various fairs, festivals and stage events.
Sederberg dreamed up and created the first installation in just a few weeks. “We put the word out on social media and had originally planned to set it up on Solstice night, but it was a 100 percent rainy forecast and clearing up the next day so we delayed it to what was a beautiful and dry starry evening.”
Not long before, Sederberg had purchased new lighting equipment for Pacific Stage. “The Covid pandemic killed our industry, and the mystery monoliths started popping up around the country,” he said. “That was the inspiration for Glowhenge.”
Sederberg says, “I brainstormed the idea out and decided that I wanted several monoliths and I wanted to bring in other artists to help out. I have a big shop and I scheduled them individually to ensure Covid safety. I knew it could be a really fun project to work with others on, especially since Covid has caused a lot of pent-up creative energy. I gave them the basic theme, approach and examples and let them have fun with the idea. We ended up with great diversity in the designs of the nine monoliths.”
Approximately 50 people came by the night of the first installation. “This was a project that far exceeded my expectations,” Sederberg said. “The new LED black lights really knocked the overall project out of the park.”
Hardly anyone knew it was going to happen, but pictures were posted online, and Sederberg was bombarded with requests to do it again. In response, he planned the additional installations, each to be a one-night event.
The monoliths are two feet wide at the base and eight feet tall. Each gets its own 80-100 watt LED black light powered by a 7,000 watt generator placed total inaudibly, 200 feet away from the installation. These lights are 15 to 20 times brighter than an old school 4-foot black light tube.
Glowhenge 2.0 installation and lighting
5-9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 6;
At least three more to be presented, time and place to be announced
Heritage Park, 5th Avenue at Deschutes Parkway, Olympia