Tuesday's letters: Spa Beach wrong place for Echelman sculpture

Published July 24, 2018

Hope yet for saving
St. Pete Pier art | Column, July 19

Wrong place for Echelman art

I join the concerned who oppose installing Janet Echelman's sculpture on Spa Beach. I also oppose its installation on any waterfront location because of the possible precedent for other projects.

More important to me are aesthetic concerns. Echelman is a gifted, important artist who has added beauty to many urban landscapes. We have seen her works in images from other locations.

What hasn't been discussed is context. The shots we see present the sculptures as free-floating beauties. The massive steel poles tethering them are invisible, and the cords anchoring them look like fine monofilament lines. The reality is that at eye level, we will see only the poles.

A more compelling issue for me is the design itself. So many of her designs have a dynamism, a sense of movement. The proposed sculpture for St. Petersburg seems, on the renderings, disappointingly static. Perhaps I am misreading it visually, but it resembles a slumping hammock.

I would love to see her work represented in our city. I'm not sure we have the right venue for it as public art. I hope I am wrong and that we can find an elevated site off the waterfront.

Lennie Bennett, St. Petersburg

Find a different spot

The sculpture by Janet Echelman would be a hazard to birds and too large for Spa Beach or near the playground approach to the St. Pete Pier. If Mayor Rick Kriseman insists he must have this ''art,'' put it near the Dali Museum.

Sylvia Walbridge, St. Petersburg


A true team effort

Despite the partisanship that permeates the country and divides Congress, four local U.S. House members: Republicans Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor and Dennis Ross of Lakeland, and Democrats Kathy Castor of Tampa and Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg, and Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio have found a nonpartisan bill to sponsor. They are all supporting the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, legislation that requires a coherent strategy to maximize our investments in global health. It holds our Agency for International Development accountable and will save millions of lives with high-impact, evidence-based interventions based on individual country needs.

About half the Florida members, including Democrats and Republicans, are now co-sponsoring this bill, which, along with its Senate companion, has remarkable congressional support. We thank our representatives and senators and ask them to help bring the REACH Act to final passage so Congress will have something to be proud of at the end of this year.

Ken and Linda Schatz, Tampa

Give Trump a chance

Does anyone realize that Donald Trump is over 70 years old? Like all mortals, he has made many mistakes in his life. And he still makes them today. Despite being our president, he is human. But Trump equally has spent years learning the ins and outs of business. He has seen some of his businesses go bankrupt, and I'm sure he has learned from those experiences. It has helped him become a billionaire. Not many of us own that title. No doubt that he has been hoodwinked, outwitted in years past. But he has learned from life and he will continue to try and run our country despite the enormous odds placed against him. If all his haters could just move away for a bit and give him a chance, maybe things will get better. Can we at least try?

Michael Merino, Tampa