Advertisement
  1. News

Mayor Kriseman: Donors will bring Echelman sculpture to St. Pete

A conceptual drawing of the Janet Echelman sculpture proposed for the Pier District project on Spa Beach. [Courtesy of Janet Echelman, Inc.]
A conceptual drawing of the Janet Echelman sculpture proposed for the Pier District project on Spa Beach. [Courtesy of Janet Echelman, Inc.]
Published Jul. 6, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — It appears the city will get to brag about its very own Janet Echelman sculpture after all.

Mayor Rick Kriseman has raised $1.5 million private donations to install a piece by the internationally acclaimed artist on the St. Petersburg waterfront.

Mayoral spokesman Ben Kirby said "a total of 14 contacts" have promised money for the Echelman sculpture, viewed as the signature piece of art for the $76 million Pier District currently under construction. Kirby explained that some of the "contacts" are groups of people who came together to bundle their donations.

He said Kriseman "is currently reaching back to those who have made a financial commitment" and is not ready to release the official list of those who have pledged money to bring one of Echelman's famous billowing sculptures to the city.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Fundraising effort for Echelman art at Pier faces ticking clock

The private money raised by Kriseman clears an important hurdle for the $2.8 million public art project. The city had already set aside $1.3 million in public funds to build the infrastructure, including towering poles to support the aerial net sculpture planned for the northern end of Spa Beach. The Public Arts Commission is also contributing $250,000.

The City Council will be asked at next week's July 12 meeting to approve a $1.5 million contract — the amount raised by Kriseman — with the artist for design development, fabrication, delivery, aesthetic direction for installation, and warranty for the sculpture.

The proposed agreement calls for Echelman to start building the net sculpture by Nov. 1 and to deliver it to the city by July 30, 2019.

In an email, Echelman said it is "great news to learn of the generosity of private donors who are making this public artwork possible."

For Kriseman, the acquisition of an Echelman piece will be the realization of a much-desired goal. In fall 2016, he presented the key to the city to the Tampa native at the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts Impact Awards dinner. At the time, it was noted that Echelman's work had been installed in 37 cities on four continents. "And St. Petersburg hopes to be No. 38," Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin said then.

More recently, the push to acquire one of the artist's soaring sculptures, which have been installed in such places as the Cidade Salvador Plaza in Porto, Portugal, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Seattle campus has been backed by a small, influential group.

Premier Eye Care CEO Lorna Taylor, former Florida House Speaker Peter Wallace and his wife, St. Petersburg Poet Laureate Helen Pruitt Wallace, have been among the project's boosters.

"I believe in supporting public art of this caliber that is accessible to everyone," Taylor, who acknowledged being one of the donors, said in a text message to the Tampa Bay Times.

"Apart from museums, which serve an essential role in our community, the physical and financial accessibility of public art offers everyone — including those who may not feel welcome, entitled, or cannot afford entrance fees — the opportunity to enjoy the fullest cultural experiences."

B2 Communications principal Kyle Parks, who has been working with members of the group to promote Echelman's work to city residents, said they are "definitely thrilled" that the public money has been raised.

"It shows the level of support for this project around the city, which we have also been seeing in other ways, from people who we have been talking to, and people telling us they have been sending emails to the mayor and the City Council," Parks said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Parks Foundation opposes Echelman sculpture on Spa Beach

But the project may have to overcome another obstacle. The Waterfront Parks Foundation, whose mission includes protecting the city's downtown waterfront parks, opposes putting the Echelman sculpture on Spa Beach. Members of the group — which outlined its objections in a lengthy email to Kriseman and the council — are expected to further express their opposition at Thursday's meeting.

"We feel that it is in the hands of the council now to decide whether parkland should be used for this sculpture," said foundation president Phil Graham Jr.

"It will remain there for 20 to 25 years and we're just afraid that the daytime appearance, with its structural poles, will not be attractive. In fact, in my estimation, it will detract from our amazing waterfront views."

Meanwhile, Echelman, who is based in Boston, said she is looking forward "to the day when residents and visitors alike can lie down on the grass underneath my sculpture on the St. Pete waterfront and watch the changing patterns of wind ripple across it."

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, left, and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody were appointed to the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice by Attorney General Bob Barr. [Tampa Bay Times]
    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will also join a commission that will “explore modern issues affecting law enforcement," according to the Department of Justice.
  2. Clockwise from left: Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites, Piña Colada Candy Apple, Candy Corn and Cheeseburger-On-A-Stick [Courtesy of the Florida State Fair]
    Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites, Piña Colada Candy Apples and more are coming to the Florida State Fair.
  3. Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy Alton Smith helps recover items Wednesday from Lake Twitt in Odessa during a dive team practice. Divers used the drill to search for evidence of a forgotten African American cemetery nearby. [CHRIS URSO   |  Times]
    Keystone Memorial Cemetery was established by a freed slave and disappeared in the 1950s. The dive team chose Lake Twitt to do its monthly practice.
  4. In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, Joseph Maldonado answers a question during an interview at the zoo he runs in Wynnewood, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File) [SUE OGROCKI  |  AP]
    A federal judge sentenced Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage to 22 years in prison for trying to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin.
  5. St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, left, and U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announce the creation of the regional Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A six-county task force from Hernando to Polk to Sarasota will band together thanks to a $742,000 Justice Department grant.
  6. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday. (Senate Television via AP) [AP]
    After late-night deliberations over the rules almost ensured no new witnesses will be heard, the trial picked up speed
  7. More than 44 percent of people who searched on ApartmentList.com for the Tampa Bay area from June to December were outside the region, according to a report from Apartment List. Percentages in the “Top Three Sources” box represent the share of searches coming from outside the metro area. (Apartment List map) [Apartment List]
    The region trails only Denver, Baltimore and San Diego for the percentage of people from outside the area searching for apartments on Apartment List.
  8. To accommodate the swelling numbers of aging baby boomers, experts say we will need to make transportation more readily available, build more affordable housing, modify homes and apartments to help seniors age in place, and create programs to bring young and old people together. [Times (2011)]
    “There’s never been a time like this,” one expert says. Solutions include more health aides, taming long-term care costs and just healthier living.
  9. The northbound lanes of I-275 were closed for more than four hours early Tuesday morning as troopers investigated a deadly crash. [Florida Highway Patrol]
    Police pulled over their vehicle for driving the wrong way on Fifth Avenue S, but the driver took off and crashed shortly after.
  10. Facebook user Cornelius King posted this warning on November 19, 2019. Hillsborough County Sheriff says it is a hoax, but the viral message continues to spread online. [Facebook screenshot]
    A viral post encourages Florida drivers to run over people they see in the street to avoid being attacked.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement