Originally Published in March 2021-
In early 2020, local artist, business owner, educator, metalsmith, and Etna resident Lindsay Huff was selected to create a sculpture for Etna EcoPark following a Request for Qualifications process. Alexis Boytim, then Director and now ECO Board Member, organized community members to participate in the selection and design process to offer feedback at multiple points. Included in the advisory committee was Joyce Swope, Judith Koch, Lydia Morin, Borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage, Councilperson Dave Becki, and Councilperson Jessica Semler. In addition, Alexis also coordinated with former Junior Councilperson Jessica Pfeifer for another perspective and voice.
In her first draft, Lindsay presented a sculpture that would interact with the natural elements of light and wind. Her idea of a kinetic sculpture with rotating panels and a central pivot point is a way to relate to renewable energy, a major focus of the Etna EcoDistrict. Options she presented for the fixed frame had unique natural forms that recall leaf or tree shapes. Committee members voiced support the leaf design as it reflects the new greenspace that it will be a part of and represents Etna’s commitment to green infrastructure. The leafy metal panels will be right at home among the newly planted trees and flowering rain garden.
In June 2020, Lindsay posted a video to call on Etna residents to submit photographs, drawings, collages, or poems that “celebrate Etna’s identity and vision for a bright future.” She collected a diverse set of materials from the community that reflect individuals' lived experiences of their neighborhood. At her second presentation to the committee, she shared her plan to incorporate the residents’ submissions directly onto the rotating panels so that each one is unique and tells a different story.
Lindsay continued to advance the design while site development progressed at Etna EcoPark. When the rain garden was completed and trees were planted, Alexis and Lindsay walked the site and explored possible locations for the sculpture. They found that the sculptures would have the highest visibility near the corner of Grant and Wilson. They also thought that locating the sculptures in the center of the rain garden would allow the sculptures to be seen beside the blooming garden and protect them from mischief. One sculpture will be placed parallel to the Grant St and the other will mirror the street's angle, reflecting the unique geometry of the rain garden and the street patterns. Alexis shared,
“We love Lindsay’s final design. We felt that the leaf-like shape of the overall sculpture and the enameled patterns really reflected Etna’s close relationship with nature and Etna EcoPark’s goal of being community-built. It has been so special to see this come to fruition.”
This is the first of three updates on the Etna EcoPark sculpture. Next month, we will write about the fabrication process. The third post will be on the final installation. The sculpture is expected to be installed in April - May 2021.
Funding for this project was provided to the Triboro Ecodistrict from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.