The Moon Crater

A Spokanite Who Brought A Piece of the Moon to Expo 74’

Unnoticed by many as they pass by on the Centennial Trail, "Moon Crater" by famous sculptor Glen Michaels is part of the many art installations at the World’s Fair Expo in 1974.

Spokane is the birthplace of Glen Michaels, who lived here until he was drafted into World War II in 1945. His love of art began at a young age when he began drawing and painting at the Spokane Art Center, a program of the New Deal during the Great Depression.

After the war, Michaels life trajectory was in music; he was exceptional at the piano. He got his education at the Yale School of Music from 1950 to 1952. After redirecting his passion to art, Michaels received his B.A. in Art Education (then Eastern Washington College of Education) in 1957. For two years, he taught in the Spokane area. He attended and received his Master's degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he later became a faculty member.

Teaching at Cranbrook, Michaels developed an interest in sculpture. He created and distributed art across the United States.

One of his many commissions is the tall abstract bronze sculpture found today on the Centennial Trail, close to the Balazs Lantern and the Performing Arts Center in Spokane. The "Moon Crater" is nine feet tall, and the bronze is 4.5 to 5 feet. The sculpture weighs 950 pounds. It has some green discoloration from weathering. The design is shaped into a square, with rigged textures and smooth features. It’s one of nine moon crater sculptures Michales built, an addition developed by Mrs. Eric Johnston as an attraction for the Expo 74.

Moon Crater draws inspiration from the Apollo moon landings of that era. In 1969 Apollo II landed two men on the moon, it was followed by five additional moon missions extending to 1972. The lunar explorations captured the publics imagination in everything from TV programs to magazines, to art pieces like this one.

The Expo 74 held in Spokane, and the theme was Celebrating Tomorrow's Fresh New Environment. The sculpture was part of the Theme Stream area; near the Spokane River. Which inspired Glen Michaels' design. In a newspaper article in the Spokesman-Review, shortly after the installation of The Moon Crate. Michaels explains the intent behind the sculpture. He states, "The piece is designed to take on the mood of Spokane, the mood of the basalt rock here. Things in the atmosphere will turn the color of the bronze somewhat. The sculpture has the feeling of the whirlpools I used to see when I'd drive over the (Monroe Street) bridge…also... a rock from the moon, which I saw displayed in Michigan."



Riverfront Park on Centennial Trail behind the Performing Arts Center (Coordinates: 47.660891, -117.417983)