Public Sculptures by Janet Echelman seen at Civic Space Park, Phoenix, AZ, Phoenix - Her Secret is Patience
Public Sculptures by Janet Echelman seen at Civic Space Park, Phoenix, AZ, Phoenix - Her Secret is Patience

Her Secret is Patience

Her Secret is Patience, the 145-ft-tall aerial sculpture in Phoenix, Arizona, is a new civic icon hailed for contributing to the revitalization of downtown. Suspended above the new 2-city block Civic Space Park, the sculpture is monumental yet soft, fixed in place but constantly in motion, it dances gently in the air, choreographed by the flux of desert winds.

The large 3-dimensional multi-layered form is created by a combination of hand-baiting and machine-loomed knotting, and is the result of a collaborative effort with an international team of award-winning aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators. This work redefines the ‘art space,’ by bringing viewers eyes upwards to the sky, focused on a new celestial object.

During the day, the sculpture hovers high above heads, treetops, and buildings. The sculpture creates what the artist calls “shadow drawings,” which she says are inspired by Phoenix’s cloud shadows that captivated her from the first site visit.

At night, the illumination changes color gradually through the seasons. The goal in selecting the colors is to provide residents some small climate relief through color, adding cool hues in summer, and warm tones in winter. The lighting design also changes what portion of the sculpture is illuminated, leaving parts obscured in mystery, much like the phases of the moon.

The artist was inspired by the region’s distinctive monsoon cloud formations and the shadows they cast, in addition to forms found in desert flora and the local fossil record. The title quotes American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote, ‘Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.’

Materials: Painted galvanized steel and cables; changing sets of recyclable high-tenacity polyester braided twine netting; colored lighting with computerized programming
Dimensions of Net: 100 ft. length x 100 ft. width x 62 ft. depth
Installation Dimensions: 353 ft. length x 289 ft. width 145 ft. height

Meet the Creator

Janet Echelman is an artist who defies categorization. She creates experiential sculpture at the scale of buildings that transform with wind and light. The art shifts from being an object you look at, to a living environment you can get lost in. Using unlikely materials from fishnet to atomized water particles, Echelman combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create artworks that have become focal points for urban life on four continents.

Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Harvard University Loeb Fellowship, a Fulbright Lectureship, and the Aspen Institute Crown Fellowship, her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages with more than one million views. Ranked number one on Oprah Magazine’s List of 50 Things that Make You Say Wow!, she was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.” She recently received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts, honoring “the greatest innovators in America today.” “

Available for commission/custom work