ST. PETERSBURG — There has been a change to the list of six artists who will compete to install their work in St. Petersburg’s new Pier District that is expected to open in 2019.
Copenhagen and Berlin-based artist Jeppe Hein, known for his "social benches," declined an invitation to submit a proposal. The pier public arts committee, which selected the six finalists with the help of consultant Ann Wykell, learned that Hein requires $20,000 to submit a design. Some of his pieces can run from $800,000 to $1 million. His smaller ones start at $100,000, but the committee decided that the project would need at least three and the cost would practically exhaust the public art budget for the $76 million Pier District.
After a lengthy discussion on Jan. 3, the committee selected Nick Ervinck from Belgium to replace Hein. Ervinck had been one of the committee’s two alternates. The remaining alternate is Joe O’Connell from Arizona. Other finalists are Xenobia Bailey, an African-American artist known for her work with fiber and mosaics; Jun Kaneko, who was born in Nagoya, Japan, in 1942 and has his studio in Nebraska; and Ned Kahn, Nathan Mabry and the Ball-Nogues Studio, all of California.
The artists are competing for a total of $488,000 in public art funds. Of that, $348,000 has been designated for the pier section of the project, which includes the pier head and Spa Beach. The approach, which links the pier to the city’s downtown, has been allocated $140,000 for public art.
The finalists will each receive an honorarium of $3,000 and up to $1,600 per trip for travel expenses.