Pier Art: Artist presents renderings for Pier installation

Just one day into the new year, Tampa artist Janet Echelman presented her budget and renderings for a colorful, 350-foot LED sculpture, proposed to light Spa Beach from above. An iconic piece to say the least, this installation would ideally fulfill Kriseman’s hopes of making the Pier District into both a cultural and recreational destination. Boasting installations in locations as Vancouver, Seattle, and Portugal, Echelman’s vibrant pieces are both noteworthy and world-renowned.

As a Tampa Bay native, Echelman brings a local knowledge to the table that few world-class artists can deliver. She says that the inspiration for her pieces comes from Spa Beach itself, “its parasols and the colonies of marine life that grow under the pier.” Despite its price-tag (which, including infrastructure to install it, sits around $3 million), the art community, both private and public, seems to be enthusiastic. Over the coming months, the city will be looking at both small and “high-level” donors to support the project.

When we first reported the story, we heard from locals about their thoughts on the piece. Many of the comments expressed excitement at the possibility of the iconic installation, others expressed trepidation at the sculpture’s ability to hold up during a hurricane or tropical storm, at the top of mind following last year’s devastating hurricane season. Others were expressed concern that the sculpture was too wasteful and costly.

The initial feasibility study addresses some of these concerns, stating:

  • Recommended location for this artwork is the end of Spa Beach, on the North side of the Pier Approach.
  • The sculpture can be designed to avoid any impacts to birds, based on initial consultation with experts in the field.
  • The sculpture will be engineered to withstand a 150 mile-per-hour wind event, the state standard.
  • The materials used in the sculpture will not deteriorate or fade. The sculpture is designed to meet the minimum duration of 25 years but will exceed that based on materials.

What are your thoughts? We would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments or via Facebook.


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