WE ARE… Public Art project at North Thurston High School

Submitted by Gregg Schlanger



Location: Lacey, WA, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $47,000

Project Team

ArtsWA Project manager

Marissa Laubscher

Washington State Arts Commission

Director, Construction & Design

Dean Martinolich

North Thurston Public Schools


This piece represents the diversity of the school while also recalling the history of the original structures. The fingerprint image represents the individual and the shared image of the collective. “We are more alike than different.” The text, a response to the prompt, “I am …” is intended to “capture (the) diversity” of the student body.

Dimensions: (H) 10’8” x (W) 12” at base, (main structure 4”) x (L) 15’6“

Materials: Aluminum and glass

Paint: Single stage acrylic urethane automotive paint. Color and finish, match Pantone Ultimate Gray (2021 Color of the Year)

Washington State Arts Commission in partnership with North Thurston Public Schools
State Art Collection, WSAC2019.022.000

Aluminum frame structure fabricated by Pablo Guerrero, Amigo Arts
Glass manufactured by Goldray Glass in Calgary, Canada
Typography (Wordsmithing) by Mike Fink, @ilevel


Washington State Arts Commission statement: Art in Public Places is uniquely positioned to advance and support art and artists across Washington. Our goal is to build and care for a dynamic contemporary art collection that is accessible and valued. We seek impactful and lasting artworks that reflect Washington’s diverse communities.


The concept for this piece was developed with consideration of criteria as outlined by students and the committee. Specifically, I focused on “Capture diversity as an evolving entity (“different yet united”). Other student/committee criteria that informed the design of this piece includes, everyone belongs, tell a story and change. It is my intention the artwork reflects the diverse student body, the growing community, the quality of light in the region and the school’s Breaking Down the Wall Program, “we are more alike than different”.

Additional Information

The school’s original gym was a simple barrel vault construction. It was replaced many years ago. The side walls of the gym had the arc filled with glass squares of different colors. We Are… is a simple wall form with an arc on the top reflecting the arch of the original gym. It is an aluminum frame construction with 33 glass pieces of various colors. It is my objective that this form allows the viewer to bring themselves into the work as they respond and interpret the artwork. It represents the diversity of the school while also recalling the history of the original structures. The image of a fingerprint is digitally printed on the glass pieces. The fingerprint is a pattern that is unique to each person. There are three distinct patterns, loops, arches and whorls. The loop pattern is the most common and most recognized of fingerprint types. I have used the loop pattern for this reason. The fingerprint represents the individual. This image is a common visual language we can all relate to and see ourselves in the artwork. While it is the individual, it is a shared image of the collective. “We are more alike than different”.