Knitting Together The Urban Fabric

"She Changes," Porto, Portugal, 2005 (photograph by Enrique Diaz; courtesy Studio Echelman)

The Story of Janet Echelman’s Greenway Aerial Installation

World-renowned artist Janet Echelman is creating an aerial installation for Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway to be unveiled on May 11, 2015. Her iconic works of art have been exhibited internationally, but never before on the East Coast. Her current Greenway project promises to place Boston on the map as a destination for world-class public art.

Echelman’s sculptures were recently ranked No. 1 on Oprah Winfrey’s “List of 50 Things That Make You Say Wow!” The one that is coming to Boston is made from over 100 miles of rope and 542,500 knots, and will suspend over one of the busiest roads ever involved in one of her installations. At 365 feet, it will be installed at a higher altitude than any other work, and is designed to withstand the strongest wind gusts at 105 mph. The sculpture weighs approximately one ton, the longest span is 600 feet, the projected area is almost half an acre and it will be illuminated by 32 individually programmed LED lights. “Janet’s work is ambitious, dramatic and accessible. Her work allows Boston as a community to dream bigger about what we are capable of,” said Jesse Brackenbury, the executive director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

By winning a National Endowment for the Arts grant the first time they applied, the Greenway was able to attract the patronage of their lead sponsor, the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, which has never supported a public art project before. In addition to these two generous gifts, Brackenbury has won additional support from ArtPlace America, The Lynch Foundation, Goulston & Storrs and other donors.

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