Salmon Waves - CODAworx

Salmon Waves

Submitted by Paul Sorey

Client: 4Culture / Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs

Location: Seattle, WA, United States

Completion date: 2001

Artwork budget: $55,000

Project Team


US Army Corps of Engineers

Public Art Agent


Public Art Agent

Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs


Seven, seven-sided, larger-than-life wave forms reflect the water environment at the Locks, and beckon viewers to linger among them. The shapes also evoke other natural and fantastic forms: sea shells, fern fronds, octopus arms, whale fins and sea monsters. Construction details reflect the nuts-and-bolts functionality of the Locks. Ephemeral images of salmon swimming among the waves, generated by computer-controlled LED lights, surprise viewers at dusk.

9’h X 20’w X 12’d
Stainless steel, LED lights, digital electronics.


Goals for the project were to enliven a space with a sculptural artwork and to celebrate the work completed at the Locks to improve survival rates of migrating smolt (young) salmon passing through the waterway.


The artist collaborated with the US Army Corps of Engineers to find a location for the artwork and to integrate the work into the busy facility. The USACE wanted to participate in the fabrication of the artwork so they were responsible for making the heptagonal footing anchors that connect the sculptures to the paved surface.