As its first phase of development nears an end, Water Street Tampa is focusing on a few finishing touches.
Specifically, it’s ready to debut some art.
The $3.5 billion downtown development is rolling out several public art projects over the next couple of months, including two large light installations from internationally recognized artists.
“It really has been fundamental to our planning of the public realm, and it’s an important component of people’s experience and memory and joy of visiting a place,” said Brad Cooke, a vice president with lead Water Street developers Strategic Property Partners. “It was a cornerstone of the project from the outset.”
The first new piece, from San Francisco artist Jim Campbell, will be Three Arcs, located in a public space called Raybon Plaza near the development’s Thousand & One office building and the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.
Three Arcs features a triptych of curved, 7-foot LED walls “that project diffused abstracted imagery and emit patterns of light that slowly transform,” according to a statement from Strategic Property Partners.
“I’m very excited to see Three Arcs in its final setting — in particular how the sculpture, with its rusted steel and glass, will act as a bridge between the landscaped plantings and the geometric pedestrian pathways and nearby architecture,” Campbell said in a statement.
Campbell is currently putting finishing touches on the installation in Tampa, Cooke said. it should be fully built out by December.
The second piece, Halocline Sky, comes from London design firm Jason Bruges Studio, marking its maiden installation in Tampa Bay.
The piece will feature an array of animated rings spanning the 200-foot skybridge over Water Street that links the Tampa Marriott Water Street and JW Marriott Tampa Water Street. Halocline is a scientific term used to describe pockets of salinity in brackish water, and the piece, which changes based on the foot and vehicle traffic in and around the bridge, is designed to “nod to Tampa’s unique ecosystem and historic port as sites of exchange.”
“Halocline Sky uses technology and storytelling to respond to Tampa’s rich natural and urban ecosystems,” Bruges said in a statement. “It’s a fun, engaging artwork that we hope will be a timeless source of joy for the local community and visitors.”
Three Arcs is part of the city’s Lights on Tampa exhibition, which receives both public and private funding, but it did not receive any city money, said arts and cultural affairs manager Robin Nigh. Because it sits next to USF’s medical school, the university contributed $100,000, Nigh said. Halocline Sky was fully privately funded.
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Water Street Tampa has already unveiled a handful of public artworks, and will announce more in the next couple of months, Cooke said. Developers have also worked with the USF Contemporary Art Museum to curate a selection of art for its office buildings, with proceeds benefiting museum programs.
In January, Water Street will host a felt supermarket exhibition by internationally renowned British artist Lucy Sparrow. That installation is funded in part by the Vinik Family Foundation, co-managed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny. Vinik is one of Water Street Tampa’s primary backers, along with Cascade Investment, which manages the investments of Bill Gates.
“Since our retail is opening in phases, this will be a lot of people’s first experience of Water Street,” Cooke said. “Fortunately we do have so much public space and wide sidewalks that’ll all be open by that time. So people will be able to fully experience the streetscape and network of the neighborhood.”