Seattle Aquarium selects artist to create Ocean Pavilion art installation

SEATTLE, Wash.—The Seattle Aquarium announced the selection of local artist Daniel Joseph Friday, a member of the Lummi Nation, to create an installation for the entry of its Ocean Pavilion, slated to open in 2024. The piece will honor the Aquarium’s location on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, who stewarded the lands and waters for generations and continue to do so today. 

Daniel Friday is a Seattle-based glass artist and a lifelong resident of Washington state’s Puget Sound region. In his previous works, he’s drawn themes and images from his Coast Salish heritage while using modern processes to sculpt glass. His pieces can be seen locally in the Museum of Glass in Tacoma and the Burke Museum in Seattle. Friday is also a recipient of the Bill Holm Grant and the Discovery Fellowship through the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA). 

“It’s an honor to be selected to work with the Seattle Aquarium. Creativity was fostered by my family from an early age,” Friday said. “Living without TV and knowing our rich cultural heritage of the Lummi Nation meant that making things with our hands was a regular activity. Now, in partnership with the Aquarium, I have the opportunity to continue to share the stories of my community.”  

The new Ocean Pavilion will welcome visitors from around the world—acknowledging its location on traditional Coast Salish lands and water, while also honoring the animals residing inside and the Coral Triangle communities they represent. The Aquarium embraces the vital role of global Indigenous solidarity, knowledge-sharing and cultural exchange in protecting the ocean we all depend on.  

Asia Tail, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and member of the Urban Native community, and a Native arts liaison at the Aquarium shared, “Daniel’s public art installation for the Ocean Pavilion’s entry will welcome people from all over the world and acknowledge, through the power of art, the Aquarium’s site as the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people.” 

Coast Salish artists working in all mediums were encouraged to apply during the selection process. Artists who applied had the option to be included on a roster of artists to be considered by the Aquarium for other art opportunities on the new Ocean Pavilion site, with the intention of deepening relationships with Indigenous artists into the future.  

Work on the Ocean Pavilion installation is expected to begin October 2020 and will be complete for the opening of the Pavilion in 2024.

About the Seattle Aquarium
Founded in 1977 and located on Pier 59 in the heart of Seattle, Washington, the nonprofit Seattle Aquarium serves as the largest platform for ocean conservation and engagement in the Pacific Northwest. With a mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, it leads educational, conservation and regional research initiatives for a healthier planet. A thriving and vibrant Aquarium is a key part of Seattle. Help secure the Aquarium for years to come by donating to the Resilience Fund at

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Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345