New “Helios Pavilion” Sculpture Gets Finishing Touches

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One of the many aspects of the new Burien Town Square (which will celebrate its grand opening June 13th) is “Helios Pavilion,” a new sculpture by James M. Harrison:

Helios Pavilion, Burien Town Square, 2009; painted steel, laminated Bullseye art glass, cast resin, copper; 30ft high x 16ft diameter. Photos by Steven D. Lenhart.

The sculpture is meant to harness the sun, native history and the energy of place, and provide a beacon and muse for the community.

“This project is dedicated to the indomitable and generous spirit of the Duwamish people,” Harrison said. “It marks the intersection of two populations and two migrations. The sculpture is meant to put color against a gray sky, and is for the enjoyment of all people who now call this place their home.”

The large outdoor sculptural installation was commissioned by the City of Burien to function as the centerpiece of the new Town Square. During the creation of the piece, James consulted both the history of the land on which the work permanently resides and the constantly evolving cosmos overhead. The artist’s statement says:

Framing the sun, the piece encourages an interactive public to muse on the heavens in the present as they are metaphorically surrounded by the woven cultural history of the past. In spirit, the sculpture is James’ gift to the Duwamish tribe, to honor and celebrate the people whose culture infused the land long before the development of Burien was envisioned.

On Saturday, June 13th, the grand opening celebration will begin at 10am with a ribbon cuttin ceremony featuring Burien Mayor Joan McGilton. Afterwards, James will talk about his work and present it to the community, alongside fellow artists who have contributed new public work to the site. Following the ceremony, the public can tour Burien Town Square, including the new Metro Transit Center, library and City Hall. Festivities will continue  until 2pm, and will feature refreshments, prizes, musical performances in the park, and play activities for children.

James M. Harrison is a Portland-based artist who has been inspiring communities with his public art for over a decade. Part philosopher, part mad-scientist, and complete poet, James shares his storytelling via the construct of site-specific work such as light beacons, towers and other repositories of myth. He explores the realm between sculpture and architecture, and plays with scale, utility, and the human body with the aim of enlivening civic space.

For more information on Harrison, visit his website:


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One Response to “New “Helios Pavilion” Sculpture Gets Finishing Touches”
  1. mfh says:

    wow very nice good to hear about the DUWAMISH

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