Empowering Communities

A Solar-Powered Pyramid Rises in Bronzeville

August 22, 2017

ComEd Unveils Solar Spotlight Pyramid Art Installation at Gallery Guichard

Pyramids have been built by civilizations in many parts of the world and now a collaboration between ComEd, a local artist, an art gallery and high school students has brought one to Bronzeville. ComEd’s Solar Spotlight Pyramid, a newly completed piece, is the first permanent artwork to be included in Gallery Guichard’s Great Migration Sculpture Garden in Bronzeville.

At a recent celebration, ComEd executives were joined by the Solar Spotlight students and several other community members to commemorate the completion of the solar-powered artwork and its installation at the Bronzeville gallery.

The towering artwork was created by artist Shala. with the help of local high school students who participated in ComEd’s Solar Spotlight Education Program earlier this year. This year’s program taught students about STEM Via the Arts, which is also known as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).

Students worked with ComEd mentors to use design elements from modern-day logos and ancient hieroglyphics to decorate the solar-powered panels with artwork that represented their individual personalities.

Traja, 17, choose to incorporate a basketball into her panel design.

“At 3 years old, I fell in love with basketball,” she says. “When I play basketball, it always makes me feel better. I drew a basketball with a horizontal line representing a heartbeat going through the basketball.”

The pyramid’s black solar-powered panels will gather energy from the sun during the day to glow at night.

“I was excited to learn about renewable energy because it’s our future,” says Charles, 15. He said he found it interesting to learn how nature, specifically the sun and wind, can be used to generate power.

Shala. says his Solar Art encompasses a revolutionary technique to add artwork to solar panels without disrupting their ability to draw energy from the sun. Believing that technology is a powerful new platform for creative expression, he developed this new medium to accelerate the adoption of solar energy and create a new art movement.

“Creating the pyramid was challenging, but it was fun and will be a monumental piece for the Bronzeville community,” he says. “ComEd is energizing the birth of a new international era in sustainable energy and art.”

Gallery Guichard, 436 E. 47th St., partnered with Shala. and ComEd to construct the revolutionary pyramid, which sits in the garden adjacent to the gallery.

“The historical significance of an art piece in the shape of a pyramid will give visitors a sense of pride,” says Andre Guichard, who co-owns the gallery with his wife, Frances. “It adds a sense of style to the garden and is a symbol of ComEd’s role in the revitalization of an amazingly rich community.”

ComEd offers the Solar Spotlight Program in February as part of its annual celebration of Black History Month. The program engages 60 African-American high school students from across Chicagoland and encourages them to explore STEM. The program includes workshops where the students learn about solar energy and African-American trailblazers.

“This is the first time that our Solar Spotlight students have had the opportunity to create an art piece as they learned about STEM,” says Melissa Washington, vice president of External Affairs and Large Customer Service. “ComEd is proud to partner with the communities we serve to nurture diversity and empower the workforce of the future.”

Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd's president and CEO, (third from left) poses in front of the Solar Spotlight Pyramid with a few of the students from ComEd’s Solar Spotlight Education Program.

Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd’s president and CEO, (third from left) poses in front of the Solar Spotlight Pyramid with a few of the students from ComEd’s Solar Spotlight Education Program.