Lightwall decorated for Whatcom Squared

The Whatcom Museum invites community members to come together to participate in Whatcom Squared, a collaborative art project that will be displayed on the Lightwall of the Lightcatcher building.

Every summer, our Lightcatcher building is illuminated by long hours of sunshine. What truly shines, though, is our connected and diverse community. Show us what community means to you using one of the biggest canvases available!

About Whatcom Squared 

Whatcom Squared is an interactive art project that will fill the Lightwall with images of the community created by you—our community members.

Teams can register to decorate 3’ x 3’ clear plastic sheets with designs and imagery that best represents them and their community. The Museum will provide the transparent square sheets. As pieces are completed and returned to us, they’ll be affixed to the outside of the Museum’s Lightwall, reflecting our community’s vibrancy throughout the building.

Everyone is welcome to participate. There are more than 250 exterior squares to fill, so we need all the help we can get!

Want to sign up? Complete this registration form to arrange to pick up your square. We are also offering time, space, and materials to work on the squares in the Lightcatcher Courtyard, with social distancing and disinfecting in place. Reserve a time to work on your square in the Courtyard here.


Who can participate?

Any community members in Whatcom County are welcome to design a square. Create a square with your family, your neighbors, your classmates, your co-workers, etc. We recommend at least three participants per square (it’s a lot of space to fill!). Whatcom Squared is envisioned as a team-based activity in order to emphasize community and collaborative efforts.

Is there a prompt or topic?

“Show us what your community looks like.” That can take a variety of forms, from landscapes to people to abstract pieces. We only ask that it remains appropriate for all members of our community.

Is there a cost?

Whatcom Squared is a FREE community art project that includes the square sheet, as well as hosted decorating times at the Lightcatcher Courtyard. 

When can I pick up my square?

After registering, participants can pick up their squares Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 5pm in the Lightcatcher Courtyard, 250 Flora St. (enter off Grand Avenue).

Can I work on my square at the Museum?

Participants can reserve time slots to work outdoors in our Lightcatcher Courtyard on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Reserve an outdoor studio time here. Groups are limited to either one household or a maximum of five participants not from the same household and must wear face coverings.

What safety precautions are being taken during this program?

Staff will wipe down each square before pickup and will also provide disinfecting materials, such as hand sanitizer. For those working in the Courtyard, we will limit capacity to one group at a time. All participants must wear face coverings. Visits will be scheduled, and staff will sanitize materials between time slots.

What are the squares made of?

The squares are clear polyester film. They are similar to transparency slides.

What can I use to decorate my square?

We recommend using permanent markers (Sharpies or equivalent alcohol-based markers), wet erase markers, or alcohol inks. The Museum will provide Copic extra-wide markers as well as Sharpies in a variety of colors for those working on their squares in the Courtyard.

What if I mess up my drawing?

To remove errant Sharpie marks, use cleaning alcohol or even alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

How and when can I see the pieces?

We will begin hanging submissions on the exterior of the Lightwall in late August through September. Visitors will be able to see the display in the Lightcatcher Courtyard for free during select days and times. Check back for a schedule.

This program is made possible by the Whatcom Community Foundation’s Project Neighborly