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We've Got a Winner for the Ross Avenue Underpass Public Art Project


by Stephen Becker 18 Apr 2011

Pedestrians walking along Ross Avenue beneath the highway will soon be joined by about 30 glowing friends.

CTA TBD

Pedestrians walking along Ross Avenue beneath the highway will soon be joined by about 30 glowing friends.

Those glowing blobs are the brainchild of Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock of Tuscon, Ariz., and have been selected as the winners of the Ross Avenue Underpass Public Art Project. The artists’ submission beat out 41 other designs, including two other finalists, which we discussed on Friday.

The shapes are about three to four feet across and are made from high-density polyethylene. They’ll be lit from inside, and the artists say passersby will be able to interact with them by touching the sculptures to change their colors. At a public meeting on Thursday night, O’Connell said that the material is easy to clean up if the objects become the victim of taggers or birds.

The project still has a few speed bumps along the way before construction can begin. First, the Texas Department of Transportation has to sign off from a technical and safety perspective. (The sculptures would be sitting on TxDot property.)  Those meetings are being organized as we speak. Once TXDot has given its approval, the city’s Public Art Committee can approve the project at either its May or June meeting. From there, the City Council will need to approve it. The council doesn’t meet in July, though, and August is usually taken over by city budget negotiations. So it’s hard to say if the project will be approved before September. Kay Kallos, the city’s Public Art manager, told me this afternoon that she’s hoping that construction can begin in early fall after everyone has signed off.

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