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How a massive moon sculpture landed at St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater

The large installation commands a celestial presence.
 
The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material.
The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Dec. 7, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG — Have you seen the massive moon glowing from inside the Mahaffey Theater?

The dazzling installation hangs in the atrium and is visible in the new restaurant Sonata’s upstairs location. It’s also a spectacle for patrons outside on the pavilion.

The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material.
The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

It’s made by United Kingdom-based artist Luke Jerram and is a whopping 23 feet in diameter. The spherical sculpture is made of fabric internally lit and features NASA imagery of the moon.

The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material.
The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

It came to the Mahaffey Theater as a permanent loan from Trish Duggan, founder of St. Petersburg’s Imagine Museum. Duggan, the museum and the Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts have also formed a partnership to showcase local artists — including Duggan’s — at the theater.

That collaboration led Duggan to offer the celestial spectacle to Bill Edwards — chairperson and CEO of Big3 Entertainment, the company that operates the Mahaffey Theater — just in time for Sonata’s opening.

The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material.
The Bill Edwards Foundation of the Arts collaborated with Imagine Museum to bring an art installation depicting the moon, by artist Luke Jerram, to the Mahaffey Theater pictured on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 in St. Petersburg. The sculpture is made from a balloon-like material. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Fahan Sky McDonagh, art director of Duggan’s TD Glass studio, led the installation of the sculpture with help from Mahaffey staff. She explained that a fan gives the sculpture its round shape, but before it could be plugged in, they had to blow it up two-thirds of its fullness with a leaf blower. Then they raised it up and it self-inflated.

McDonagh said she positioned the sculpture to give diners at Sonata a view of “the man in the moon.”

It’s another part of Edwards’ vision to enhance the theater.

“Three arts collide,” he said. “You’ve got culinary arts, performing art and visual arts.”