Who is Wes Sam-Bruce and what does The Wonder Sound mean to him?

This post was written by Natalia Tamburini, a member of the Marketing Team and editor of The New Children’s Museum blog.


You’ve probably noticed that the Upper Level is undergoing some construction. We’re about a month out from the unveiling of The Wonder Sound, our largest and most immersive installation to date, opening in June.  We’ve delved into details of The Wonder Sound world in our newsletter and Instagram, but what about the mastermind behind it? Who is Wes Sam-Bruce and what does The Wonder Sound mean to him?


Wes Sam-Bruce grew up in Northern California with the forest as his backyard. He was an only child and had a small family, so most of his time was spent outside playing, imagining and creating. He recalls wanting to be an artist from a very early age – and even though his dreams ebbed and flowed throughout his life (at one point, he thought his calling was to rescue baby birds and frogs from volcanoes) – he finally came back to being an artist because he realized he couldn’t continue without knowing where art would take him.  At first, he was hesitant. “Was art just a serious thing for serious people?” Wes asked himself. He wasn’t sure where his art would fall in the world, but he definitely knew where his best inspiration came from.

Any good piece [of art] I’ve created reflects back to my childhood,” he admits. For example, the best piece he’s ever made, according to him, was a swimming pool that was on a tree. With the help of a friend, Wes hung all sorts of tarps from the branches of a big tree and filled them with water, creating a cylinder pool that you could actually swim to. “That might not sound like art,” says Wes, “but to me, it’s the perfect example of creative risk taking.” Being creative is about knowing what you want and thinking of ways to achieve that goal. Wes and his friend wanted a pool and a treehouse – and that’s exactly what they built.

A couple months ago, before Wes was in-house at the Museum, I had the chance to spend a whole morning with him, walking around Kobey’s Swap Meet and exchanging thoughts and ideas about this new installation, the arts and how we connect with the world. In the time we spent together, Wes repeated three words over and over again – observation, awareness and remembrance. Those three words, to him, simply summarize what he hopes visitors get out of The Wonder Sound when they come to the Museum.

What do those words mean? Wes shared that the first step of creating anything is observing. Whether it’s a piece of art or a relationship with a stranger, you have to observe and notice before embarking on any sort of adventure. Wes hopes that through The Wonder Sound, visitors are given a chance to explore, observe and create; both together and on their own.

Part tree house, part village, part undiscovered world, The Wonder Sound will be the Museum’s largest and most immersive art installation yet. Consisting of multiple levels, The Wonder Sound will invite families to explore its 30+ rooms and passageways, going from the real to the unreal, crossing the threshold from the known to the unknown, venturing from the wild to the familiar.


The Wonder Sound opens on Mass Creativity Day on Saturday June 25. join us for the unveiling of this magical installation and let the adventure begin…

To learn more about The Wonder Sound, click here.

To learn more about Wes Sam-Bruce, click here or hear him speak at Creative Mornings SD this Friday, May 27.

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