Traveling exhibits at the Pacific Science Center are always a reason for Seattle families to hit the Seattle Center. And PSC’s new The Art of the Brick exhibit is no exception. It’s the fine art gallery you want to stroll through, meets the LEGO exhibit your little builder is way in to. In short, it makes the perfect first stop on your school’s-out bucket list.

Girls LEGO american farmer PSC

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

The Man Behind the LEGO Bricks
If you and your mini master builder have ever wondered how those lucky ducks that build LEGO creations for a living get started, Nathan Sawaya’s story will have you intrigued. Like many professional LEGO artists, his career started on a much different track. As a lawyer for a big NYC firm. Facilitating million dollar mergers at work left Sawaya in need of a way to relax and unwind at home. So he started building, challenging himself to make LEGO facsimiles of famous works of art. Then he started posting his creations online. When traffic to his website crashed his server, he knew it was time to cast off his lawyer identity and live the LEGO dream full-time. The Art of the Brick showcases the gamut of Sawaya’s work, from the masterpieces he imitated early on, to a fine art photography collaboration he completed with Dean West. And yes, you and your Little can get up close and personal with the iconic yellow man sculpture when you go.

Yellow courtesy of Running Subway

photo: courtesy of Running Subway

Flattering Firsts
The first few (of eight) galleries house Sawaya’s LEGO reproductions of famous works of art, like The Mona Lisa, Starry Night and one we’ll bet you had tacked up in your freshman college dorm, Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. Many of these works lay flat, like the painted originals, while others pop off the stage in 3-D, giving a whole new perspective to the two-dimension pieces that inspired them. You and your little investigator might notice colors and shapes differently in these reconstructed classics. And you can check your perspective against photos of the originals posted by each creation. A super-important perk for kiddos, since this might be the first time they’ve encountered these classics.

2 girls LEGO starry night

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

The sculpture gallery marks the line between recreation and original works for Sawaya. And the statues your little LEGO lover will find here are impressive, towering, fascinating homages to sculptures through the ages. Arguably the most noticeable of the bunch Moai, the Easter Island icon looms at the back, beckoning mini onlookers to ooh and ahh over its size. You can dazzle your sidekick with insider info when you let him in on this secret—it’s hollow on the inside! We also love knowing that Sawaya uses run of the mill LEGO pieces you can find in the store. None of the colors or pieces he uses are specially made. All the more reason you and your mini builder should try this at home!

girl looks at LEGO statues

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

The Back Galleries
The next few galleries feature Dali dream-like builds where Sawaya uses LEGO bricks, locked and loose, to create living sculptures on the move—swimming, sagging, walking and bursting with colorful expression. It’s also where your kidlet can gawk at the 20-foot long T-Rex hanging from the ceiling and check out a time-lapse video of Sawaya building one of his life-size sculptures on an old school TV. It’s worth a watch to see how his visions come together.

swimming lego art

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Just before the ramp is where you’ll find the compelling multi-media photography collaboration, IN PIECES. See if your tiny tot can match the life-sized LEGO sculpture in the gallery to the painting it appears in. What looks like a neat trick of the camera may not be what it appears to be. Then, head up the ramp to find the sculpture Sawaya tailor-made for this exhibit. He makes one for each city that hosts the exhibition and we’re pretty sure that when it comes to icons of Pacific Northwest, he nailed it.

Red LEGO dress PSC

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

The final stop on this brick-tacular exhibit is the life-size LEGO tree huggers. Like colorful yarn bombings around tress and lampposts in Pioneer Square, these installations are Sawaya’s street art, meant to inspire others. He leaves them behind in the cities he visits. Each brick has a name scribbled on it, from passersby and fans of these intriguing characters. Take a note from these guys and add a brick or two to the community build set up right next to these huggable statues. You and your mini me can grab the perfect brick and attach it in just the right place after signing your John Hancock to your work. Build on!

Tree hugger LEGO 2 girls

 photo: Allison Sutcliffe

A Brick-tastic Deal
We’ve got the scoop on saving some green on your exhibit admission! Starting on Mon., June, 13, bring in a sandwich baggie full of LEGO bricks and the Pacific Science Center will knock a buck off your admission price. So, for example, four full bags of bricks equals four dollars saved! Plus, that means fewer of those loveable bricks to step on around the house.

Good to Know
1) These amazing pieces are for eyes only. We love the idea of packing some LEGO bricks from home in your diaper bag, so your curious cutie has something to play with when he or she’s feeling inspired along the way.

2) You can make it through the exhibit in just under an hour, before those wiggles set in.

3) The exhibit is an add-on to general admission pricing or your membership.

Girls stares at green lego mang PSC

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Pacific Science Center
200 2nd Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98109
206-443-2844
Online: pacificsciencecenter.org

Dates: Through Sept. 11, 2016
Cost: $28.75/Adults; $23.75/Youth (6-15); $20.75/Child (3-5); $7/Members

Do you plan to take the kids to see this LEGO exhibit? Have you already been? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below.

— Allison Sutcliffe