Six artists and artist teams have been selected as finalists to create original art for the Pier District. The Pier Art Committee reviewed over seventy highly qualified artists that included artists from the US, Canada, and many other countries. The finalists are Jun Kaneko (Omaha), Nathan Mabry (Los Angeles), Xenobia Bailey (New York City), Ball-Nogues Studio (Los Angeles), Ned Kahn (Sebastopol CA), and Jeppe Hein (Copenhagen).
The City of St. Petersburg began a process in 2016 to select artists for public art within the Pier District. Art will be funded through the city’s Percentage for Art ordinance. Artists with a high level of professional experience were invited to indicate interest in being considered for commissions. Two hundred seventy-seven submissions were received. Requirements included having a completed body of work of similar scope, scale, and budget range as well as familiarity with the integration of design and installation into an ongoing construction project. At this time a total of $480,000 is available for two commissions, but this budget may be augmented.
The finalists will receive a design honorarium to develop specific proposals for the Pier District. They will also be invited to present their proposals to the Pier Art Committee which will recommend projects for commissions to the Public Art Commission, which will then forward their recommendation to the mayor. At least two projects will be commissioned, one for the Pier Approach and one for the area leading up to and including the Pier head.
Bailey translates the vibrant patterns and colors derived from her fiber art, into mosaics for public projects. Recently, a major installation was completed for the new subway line in New York.
Ball-Nogues produces site-specific designs based on research into the community and setting for their work. His pieces do not have a recognizable style or vocabulary, but each piece is concerned with interaction with the viewers and employs materials appropriate for the conditions of the site.
Hein‘s approach to public interventions focuses on the attempt to integrate art into the everyday life of the people. These relationships between artwork, architecture and public space are his key concern. The Pier Committee is focused on the social action benches that he creates for public spaces.
Kahn uses the natural forces in the environment of the site as materials. He says he “puts a frame around nature” in his pieces that visualize the tides, wind, the flow of water, etc. His work is site-specific and developed in tandem with engineers and scientists.
Kaneko is an artist of international renown. He has developed a method of firing monumental size ceramics that can be installed outdoors. He has a created a vocabulary of forms that he glazes in continually evolving versions of color and pattern.
Maby is emerging as a sculptor of note. His sculptures in bright primary colors often reference modern sculpture of the 20th century as well as diverse cultures and birds significant to the local site.