Downtown Phoenix sculpture gets a name, and it’s not “jellyfish”

"Her secret is patience" patiently awaits its netting (Photo: Arizona Republic)

[Source: Connie Cone Sexton, Arizona Republic] — For almost a year, Sky Bloom has been the working title for a public art sculpture being created for a downtown Phoenix park.   The name fit, in part, because it represents the sculpture’s design: a floating saguaro cactus flower.  But on Tuesday, Boston artist Janet Echelman unveiled the formal name she has chosen — Her secret is patience.  It is half of the full line — “Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience” — by poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.  The name is also fitting, as the piece has been both hailed and questioned during the past months.  Now, with the last element of the piece to be added in early March, the patience of the public is soon to be rewarded, allowing them to judge the piece as a whole.

Echelman discussed her work at the Phoenix Art Museum.  During the evening, she was congratulated time and again by audience members.  She stressed that the piece wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration of a wide-ranging team.  The group includes the Phoenix Arts and Culture Office; CAID Industries, a Tucson metal-fabrication specialist; EDAW, a landscape architectural firm in Phoenix; M3 Engineers of Tucson, which made the structural steel; Speranza Architecture in Barcelona; designer Buro Happold from New York; ForeSite Design and Construction from Tempe which did the foundation in the park; Nexus Steel of Tempe, which erected the steel posts; Diamond Nets of Washington state, which is weaving the netting; and NETServices also of Washington state, which will install the netting.

That many companies with Arizona connections could take some of the fight out of naysayers who questioned the piece since it was approved by the City Council in 2007.  The project is being funded by the city’s Percent for Art program.  The sculpture is to be an iconic piece for the 2.77-acre Civic Space downtown park being developed between Central and First avenues, and Van Buren and Fillmore streets.

Echelman profusely thanked Valley residents for standing up for her project.  At one point in late 2007, some city leaders suggested it be cut.  A groundswell of support helped push it forward.  “I am privileged,” Echelman said to the audience.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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