‘Luminous Forest’ installation now complete along 4th Avenue arts corridor

The Installation of "Luminous Forest" by Iole Alessandrini will continue into next week.
Concept drawing of “Luminous Forest” presented to the city last year during the selection process that awarded the project to Seattle artist Iole Alessandrini.

The installation of “Luminous Forest”, the interim art project by Seattle artist Iole Alessandrini was completed on Monday, June 13.

City of Edmonds Arts and Culture Manager Frances Chapin tells My Edmonds News, “ Unlike some art that shouldn’t be touched, this art can not only be touched – but it can and should be driven on.”

The composition of the exhibition by Alessadrini includes solar LED light elements embedded in the roadway between Daley and Main Sts.

“The interim project lights up at dusk to help enhance this unique 4th Avenue North neighborhood until the road is eventually redone,” explains Chapin.

The official dedication of the installation will take place in July in conjunction with events celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Edmonds Center for the Arts.


  1. why won’t they keep the art in place when 4th gets redone? It looks great! And if this is the so called “arts corridor” shouldn’t it have art on it?

  2. Dag. Nothing is more synthetic looking than the Luminous Forest, which is supposed to remind us that “trees used to be growing there.” Tree’s don’t grow in straight lines. Tree’s don’t make you want to land an aircraft. What better way to make people think of trees and the environment (the stated goals of the project) than to bury hundreds of solar-charged batteries in the pavement? The north end of the street is in slight disrepair and there’s even a couple lights in pit holes. The spray paint used to mark off each light is the most distinguishable feature of the project, even at night when it’s lit up. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when a few bulbs stop working and the OCD in me causes me to crash my car due to visual distraction.

    I really do love art, and I don’t intend to offend, but the art in Edmonds is overwhelmingly derivative and ill-conceived. There are huge vinyl stickers on the Sound Styles building on Main Street that are really bizarre collages of pictures pieced together with MS Paint. It looks like hell. I know a business owner who had their building painted by the art commission and they really didn’t like it and felt like it hurt their business. I can’t mention which piece out of fear of reprisal, but trust me it’s ugly. The situation is that people are mum on this stuff because they really want to get along.

    There are a few really great works on the buildings around town. We all know which ones. If you’re an artist and put yourself out there, we should also recognize and be prepared for someone to point out that most of it is actually pretty awful and self indulgent. City Council: Can we please have an Edmonds Art Decommissioning Commission?

    1. I agree….do we really need to light up a street with LEDs anyway? I wonder what the wildlife thinks of this display of indulgence in/distruption to their nighttime home. Yuck! And there are already enough distracted drivers almost banging into me on the streets of Edmonds (seriously, I get almost hit almost every time I walk through town, which is nearly daily). Very bad idea, “art” or not.

      1. So Leslie, when you refer to the “wildlife” are you talking about the ‘Street Gang’ that Matt is referring to or the rodents that most likely come out after the town shuts down? If you are referring to the Street Gang, they obviously appreciate it since they were a fairly well known Hip Hop group shooting a video, but if you are referring to the rodents, I seriously doubt they really could give a ‘Rat’s Patoot’. /;-}
        Also, I have to wonder why you are almost getting hit by drivers when you are downtown? My Wife and I are downtown several times a week day and night and have been for a number of years but have yet to be threatened by a ‘distracted driver’. Maybe it isn’t so much a distracted driver but a distracted walker?
        When I was a kid, I was taught by my Parents, Grandparents, Neighbors, Friends and Teachers that when crossing a street, to look to the right, then to the left and back to right again before crossing and once I am sure there are no cars, to get across the street as in a timely manner since I am responsible for my own safety and life.

  3. I’ve had several folks said they read the post above and some understood where I was coming from and some didn’t. As an update to this, last night I attended the Edmonds Art Walk and went to dinner afterwards. While walking home at about 10:30pm there was a street gang and all their fancy cars parked on 4th. They seemed like nice kids and they said hi to my wife and I. They had some reasonably high-quality film gear and there was a rapper in gold chains posing with an opened bottle of Makers Mark in front of his car on the Luminous Forest. Apparently our newest work of art inspired a gangster rap video. The lights in the street really made sense after seeing them in that context.

      1. One of the things I like about My Edmonds News is the way people are almost always courteous and show mutual respect.

  4. I did that thing where you google yourself and this came up. I want to apologize for my diatribe here. I’m human. The lights are growing on me. I ride my bike to work and find myself slaloming through them. I still am not reminded of trees.

  5. I know this is an older post but I noticed Matt’s response so I felt the need to make my comments as well.
    First of all, I know the Artist and She is fairly well know and is an International Artist that has been around for a while. I understand some Folks comments since Art is subjective however, just because One does not get what the Artist intended with the piece does not mean everyone will not. This piece is a very well done exercise in creativity IMHO. Since I have worked in an ‘Artistic’ environment for many years I do have a certain edge that most do not. When Iole created this piece She had the trees in mind. just as an FYI, when an Artist says a piece is meant to represent trees, they most likely are not going to draw or paint actual trees like One would do in their school Art class. This is the process of a creative mind and spirit.
    I saw a comment about the Art on the side of the buildings in Edmonds and while I appreciate all Art, those pieces are not the same as Iole’s ‘Luminous Forest’. Two completely different mediums and styles. I also like that the Luminous Forest is ‘Growing’ on Matt Richardson.
    I was taught that if I could not say something nice about something, not to say anything at all.

    1. “I was taught that if I could not say something nice about something, not to say anything at all.” Wise words – but they can also stifle legitimate criticism and discussion.

      1. Joe, Nathaniel, well put. Im an artist. I play guitar and do some drawings and painting. Im horrible at both. I dont have the chops to sing and play music in front of a crowd. Theres no bigger way to put yourself out there than to put your work on a building for ten years. Some one in an artists life (friends, some jerk on the web) should pump the brakes a bit by providing constructive criticism along the way. I dont think people are giving artists that feed back until its too late. Ive lived in 15 states if you count Iowa twice, been here for 5+ year but Im becoming a local fast. Theres a local tapestry to Edmonds. It is composed of things like the family-owned theater, the Water Temperature Taker Guy, to the Elder Knights of the Walnut Round Table. The street lights are growning on people (not as a Luminous Forest), and becoming locally appreciated. Most of the murals could go away, even if replaced with something better. I hope the artist will allow that. It would be amazing they’d call for their own works to be recycled, or if the Art Commission had a sunset clause on murals.

  6. My son just sent me a pic of Luminous Forest he took last night, and it was so interesting I have looked it on Google ( I live in Illinois) and am reading more about it here. Sorry for some of your Edmonds residents that it seems to be controversial, because from afar, I thought it looked lovely.

  7. I attended a function tonight at the Edmonds Center for the Performing Arts (I live in Sultan) and stumbled accidentally onto what appeared to be an airport runway. I had to Google this strangely placed Edmonds airport when I got home, to learn it was actually an art project on 4th Street rather than a landing strip. I had to share this with my father in law who grew up in Edmonds and graduated from Edmonds High School in 1960. He rolled his eyes.

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