3 public art installations in border cities among best in the nation

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“Voids” is located inside the new Alameda Public Library in El Paso’s Lower Valley. (Courtesy photo)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A pair of El Paso’s public art installations are among the CODA Awards Top 100 public art pieces, and they’re up for a people’s choice award.

“Flores del Desierto” was created by Christopher Weed. An abstract interpretation of desert sage in bloom, it was installed as part of the City’s Airway landscape improvement project. It consists of 11 stainless steel sculptures reaching 31-feet high. It’s intended to mimic elements of flight, acting as a gateway to the El Paso International Airport.

The other public art piece is inside El Paso’s new Alameda Public Library. It’s called “Voids” and is primarily made of optical fiber. The artist, Osman Akan, is known for his large-scale public installations and had been working with optical fibers since 2004.

“Voids” uses some 15,000 feet of optical fibers that were cut to 16-feet sections, then bundled to 62 strands per illuminator. Each of the five forms of the artwork is illuminated with three lightboxes.

“El Paso’s Public Art Program is increasingly recognized as one of the most prolific in the country and is a testament to the investment that the City has made in capital projects, infrastructure and overall quality of life,” said Ben Fyffe, assistant director of El Paso’s Museums and Cultural Affairs Department. “Integrating public art into municipal projects not only enhances El Paso’s visual image, it ensures that citizens can encounter artwork in every part of our community.”

A public art piece in San Diego has also been named one of CODA’s Top 100.

“Liquid Light” is a two-story tall, 150-foot-wide permanent video projection mural draping the InterContinental Hotel on the San Diego Bay. The idea was to integrate the concept of water as an integral part and showcase the underwater world of the Pacific Ocean that is the front porch of the hotel. The piece runs 36 minutes in three sections: Flow, Aqua and Life illuminating surreal images of the relationship of the human form in water with nature.

“Liquid Light is the work of local Southern California artist, Roark Gourley.

CODAworx, which presents the CODAawards, is an organization of global designers, planners and artists that highlights the ability of art and design to transform public spaces. Projects selected for the awards are examples of projects that successfully integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural, or public spaces.

The public can cast their vote for these public art pieces through Friday, June 30 here.

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