A 35-foot sculpture made of brushed steel ribbons topped with a sphere polished to a mirror-like finish was selected from over 300 entries after a call for artists to create a public work to anchor the downtown segment of the I-4 Ultimate project.
Little Rock-based artist Hunter Brown of Innovative Sculpture Design created the work, titled “Solidarity,” which is being proposed to be placed near the entrance ramp to the pedestrian bridge that crosses Colonial Drive/State Road 50 just west of Gertrude Place. The sculpture itself would be 30-feet tall and placed on a circular three-tiered base made of stained concrete.
As it did with the bridge, which was completed in 2019, the city would utilize LED lighting to illuminate and enhance the artwork at night.
The city has applied for approval from the Appearance Review Board for the sculpture and surrounding garden. The project received a $400,000 public art grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, and the city created an I-4 Art Endowment Committee to manage the project and in February 2021 they selected the winning piece. The committee reserved $50,000 of the grant funds for future maintenance of the piece.
In his proposal, Brown wrote that his design would push the limits of form, structure, and space.
“Solidarity is a modern stainless steel sculpture design, composed of twisting ribbon-like forms that extrude upward in space, embracing a large reflective sphere high in the sky,” he wrote. “The sphere represents our world and the communities we live in. The forms in this design appear to be lifting the sphere upward in the sky in a prevailing fashion. These forms join together as one at the base, where they loop around, becoming visually anchored by a cantilevered arch. The arch is a structure with deep resonance. It embodies and is symbolic for strength, support, and thresholds in time. The relationship between forms in the Solidarity design reflects our relationships in our communities, and in our world. There is strength in unity, working together, and a collective effort for the greater good. In a year of trials, pandemic, and division this is more important now than ever.”
Brown has repeated the ribbon and sphere motif in multiple public art pieces, but he stated that the Solidarity design would be unique to this location. “There will be no duplications or reproductions,” he wrote.
This would be the second new major art installation commissioned for the downtown area this year. In May the Downtown Development Board installed an 8-foot tall yellow DTO sculpture to commemorate its 50th anniversary.