Ketchikan artists produce game exhibit

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, NOV. 3 - Michelle Gadbois celebrates after playing the game Spawn-O-Rama at The Point in Ketchikan, Alaska, on Oct. 18, 2013. Artist Terry Pyles claps in the background. Pyles assisted artist Ray Troll on the construction and painting of the game which went to the Sitka Sound Science Center. (AP Photo/Ketchikan Daily News, Hall Anderson)

KETCHIKAN — Two well-known Ketchikan artists have come together to paint a project for the first time.


Ray Troll and Terry Pyles unveiled Spawn-O-Rama, a Plinko-style game, on Oct. 18. The game is the last addition to the “Salmon Connection” exhibit at the Sitka Sounds Science Center.

The idea for Spawn-O-Rama was born in 2011, when a committee, including Troll and students from the University of Washington, brainstormed what they would like to have in the exhibit.

Troll said he recruited Pyles to work with him on the project when it came time to build the board.

“You don’t want me near power tools,” Troll said.

Spawn-O-Rama players drop two pucks — decorated as fish eggs — one at a time in the top of the game and then cross their fingers in hopes of the disc dropping through the correct hole at the bottom. A foghorn sounds if they lose, and a bell sounds if they win.

Troll said the 20-percent chance of winning the game correlates with the percentage of salmon that come back to fresh water to spawn, which is only 2 percent.

The game board is brightly painted with some of the more than 100 animal species that rely on salmon as part of the ecosystem.

Troll said that because science can be a bit convoluted, games are an important way to get people engaged. Troll took the game to Sitka on Tuesday on the Alaska Marine Highway System.

The exhibit was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and created in partnership with the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

The Sitka Sound Science Center uses education and research to increase understanding and awareness of land and aquatic ecosystems in the Gulf of Alaska.


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