Art Going Dark: SAM’s Participation in Earth Hour

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about global warming and the issues facing the world due to climate change. What you might not have heard about is a little event called Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a worldwide event that was started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 by the World Wildlife Federation and over the last 5 years has exponentially grown to include135 countries and more than 5,200 cities and towns around the world. It occurs on the last Saturday of March, from 8:30–9:30 pm. The goal of the event is to encourage environmental action and change on a grassroots level. So on March 31st at 8:30 pm people, businesses and cities around the world are encouraged to shut off non-essential lights in their homes, offices and facilities with the hope that people will commit to ongoing environmental change. And SAM will be among the multitude participating!

In honor of Earth Hour the Seattle Art Museum is turning the lights off of two art pieces in its collection—Cai Guo-Qiang’s Inopportune: Stage One and Alexander Calder’s Eagle. So if you’re walking past SAM Downtown Saturday night the exploding lights of Inopportune: Stage One will be dark or if you happen to be in the Olympic Sculpture Park, Eagle will be just a silhouette.

Earth Hour is also about going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action on climate change. As such the SAM Goes Green Team is using Earth Hour as a great excuse to kick off a new initiative to reduce energy consumption in the administrative offices at our 3 locations. Each day this week leading up to Earth Hour the green team is encouraging staff to take on a new challenge and hopefully break some habits. Simple things like turning your computer off at night or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can add up to savings, especially when you take these steps with your coworkers. It’s always a challenge to get people to think about things differently, break ingrained myths and establish good habits but that’s what this week is about! Are you interested in taking on our challenges with us? Check our Facebook page for the daily challenge and see if you can make a difference at your work or home.

Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene, ca. 1638-39, Georges de La Tour and Studio, French, 1593-1653, oil on canvas, 42 x 55 7/8 in, Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Richard and Elizabeth Hedreen in honor of Mimi Gardner Gates, Photo: Paul Macapia

And think about shutting off the lights this Saturday for an hour. Grab a candle, a book or maybe some friends and a board game and turn the lights off. Or, like this image by George de La Tour, do some minor surgery. Ok, maybe not that….

If you like Earth Hour, you’ll love Earth Day. Join SAM for an Earth Day celebration on April 21st at the Olympic Sculpture Park. And why not come check out the exhibition A Light in the Darkness at SAM Downtown.

-Liz Stone, Operations Assistant/Digital Media Support Specialist

Top photo: Inopportune: Stage One, 2004, Cai Guo-Qiang, Chinese, (works in America), born 1957, cars and sequenced multi-channel light tubes each car: 16’ x 6’, Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Robert M. Arnold, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, © Cai Guo-Qiang, Photo by Eduardo Calderón