Sunrise Elementary School Art Gallery - CODAworx

Sunrise Elementary School Art Gallery

Client: Puyallup School District and Washington State Arts Commission

Location: Puyallup, WA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $85,000

Project Team

Fabrication and Installation

Jeff Wallin

Fireart Glass

Project Manager

Chuck Zimmer

Washington State Arts Commission


Wall mounted, fused glass paintings, each approximately 83″ x 20″ x .5″
Transitions of Fall interprets that season in the Pacific Northwest and Sensing Spring evokes its namesake.


In 2021, teachers and educational administrators at Sunrise Elementary selected me to create public art for their school through Washington States Percent for Art Program. Multiple committee members were trained practitioners of Visual Thinking Strategies and thus particularly enthusiastic to bring my custom artwork to their community.

After considering multiple locations within their building, we chose to transform a spacious alcove into what would be known as the Art Gallery. My work would create a space for thinking about art, meeting in a setting other than the classroom, and contemplation. Their Principal and Assistant Principal report, “Ms. Hirsch's work is the perfect complement to our school's Art Gallery. She envisioned the artwork, wall color and furniture, transforming it from an underused, cluttered space to one of repose. Students are able to reflect, explore, and meditate in the space. She was also very informative and intentional throughout the development and installation process. We are deeply appreciative for what she shared with our school community."


The committee and I considered four potential spaces prior to determining the final location for a custom project. I coordinated with committee, Principal, Puyallup School District, Washington State Arts Commission and Fireart Glass. Leading up to my proposal, I had been working with hundreds of pieces of watercolored paper while an Artist in Residence at PLACE (Portland, OR) and Pine Meadow Ranch (Sisters, OR). From these works on paper, I developed the compositions to be interpreted into fused glass.

Additional Information

Sensing Spring is an abstract, poetic composition designed to evoke sensations and conditions during the easy months of spring in the Pacific Northwest. Colors might suggest plant material and flowers. Spacious skies offer the cheer and comfort of moderate weather. It is an invitation to imagine. Transitions of Fall evokes our long progression of fall moving towards winter. Yellows and greens suggest the early months while cool blues and greys intimate winter. Clouds and stars are recognizable among the abstract language of color and pattern. One might see an evocation of ice forming, or a leaf turning. It is an invitation to remember. The commission includes my own poem about color offering insights to the visual work and educational paths for teachers through language and association. In addition, I have provided the staff with lesson ideas around visualization, color, experimentation and mathematics. "Throughout the process, Alex remained sensitive to the school's needs and was able to deliver an outstanding work of art that not only enlivens the space but serves as an educational opportunity for multiple disciplines. This achievement is made more impressive since it was designed, fabricated, and installed during the pandemic." - Chuck Zimmer