BENDING ARC (in construction), ST. PETERSBURG, FL
Janet Echelman was selected by the City of St. Petersburg, FL to design a new site-specific artwork for the city’s new Pier District. Echelman’s team is currently in the fabrication process and the artwork is scheduled to open in March 2020 when the new St. Pete Pier opens.
Echelman’s art embraces change. The monumental soft sculpture floats gently/gently billows above the city’s waterfront pier as the wind creates a choreography of constantly changing shape in the sculpture’s soft surface at any given moment. The sculpture’s color and shadow drawings are also transforming at every moment in an ongoing interplay with natural and projected light.
Born and raised along the shores of Tampa Bay, the internationally-renowned artist was inspired by the site’s multi-layered cultural and natural history. She studied historical postcards of pier and Spa Beach, then began to sketch patterns inspired by the colorful parasols which dotted the sand over the last century, combined with the formations of colonies of native barnacles that continue to thrive underneath the pier. Echelman’s research also delved into the site’s social and political history, with respect to both who was given and who was denied access to its natural beauty and recreational pleasures. The artwork’s title, Bending Arc, makes reference not only to the artwork’s sculptural form, but also to the current park’s intentional inclusiveness and welcome to all, as it recalls a phrase spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. : "The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Toward Justice.”
Sculpture by the Numbers:
180 miles length of twine in net
370 ft length of net
420 ft length of artwork (includes tensioned rope)
64 ft highest point
5,330 lbs weight
47,500 sf area of sculpture’s projected plan
St. Pete Pier, St. Petersburg, FL