St. Pete Approves New Location For Echelman Sculpture
St. Petersburg city council members Thursday voted 7-1 to approve an artist agreement with sculptor Janet Echelman.
Her floating net sculpture will now be installed next to the St. Petersburg Museum of History, which is also part of the new Pier District.
The council previously rejected an agreement because of public opposition to the sculpture’s proposed installation at Spa Beach.
Residents opposing the site said it would block the downtown waterfront view of Tampa Bay.
Raul Quintana, St. Pete city architect, said the artist can now begin adapting her design to fit the smaller space.
"We do believe we have a site that can work, that appears doable from a number of areas,” Quintana said. “However, we have a long way to go. We still have to design it, and work through the logistics on the site, and the construction details and the costing."
St. Pete resident Jim Rogers was one of several to speak out in favor of both Echelman’s work, and the new location. He said, “there's no better contemporary sculptor than Echelman.”
"This is one of the top sculptors in the world and it's going draw people; it's going to identify St. Petersburg further as a center of the arts and place where you come to really enjoy and appreciate great art."
Other than council member Ed Montanari, only two people spoke out against the sculpture.
One resident did not want the piece near the waterfront at all, and another wanted an environmental impact study to be completed before a decision was made.
Echelman will now work with the city to flesh out further details of exact placement of the sculpture, lighting, and reducing potential impact to birds.
A total of $1.3 million in public funds have been earmarked for the project, including $250,000 from the Public Arts Commission. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has raised $1.3 million in private donations for the $2.8-million project.
It’s part of a $76 million overhaul of the St. Petersburg Pier District.
Quintana said the sculpture could cost an additional $300,000, partly because of market variability with the steel industry.
Construction for the Pier District is scheduled to be complete by fall 2019.