Lewes’ next public art project will be installed in Canalfront Park in April.
Lewes Mayor and City Council unanimously approved the public art committee’s request to place a piece called Unbounded by Pittsburgh-based artist Rachel Mica Weiss in the park near the Lightship Overfalls.
Unbounded is a large-scale, site-specific and site-responsive architectural intervention, utilizing hand-chiseled obsidian rock and hand-dyed rope to create bound yet flowing textile surfaces. Committee Chair Cliff Diver said the piece has received positive and negative comments since it was chosen in January.
He believes the piece will evoke rather than illustrate, making it something that must be viewed in person in order to get the full experience. He said the rocks are reminiscent of a jetty while the ropes fit with the nautical environment.
Weiss is expected to install the piece in April, and it will remain in the park through Labor Day.
“This series highlights the forces shaping us, while simultaneously asking the viewer to question the human impact on the landscape and reconsider the stability of boundaries – whether physical, architectural or self-created,” Weiss wrote on her website. “The work asks viewers to feel a sense of vulnerability when in conversation with the over 6,000 pounds of obsidian that comprises each of these seemingly gravitationally impossible formations.”
Weiss has previously installed her Unbounded work in Brooklyn and Pittsburgh.
The committee identified Weiss – and other potential artists – through consultant Karin Bravin. Using a selection of art projects and artists provided by Bravin, the committee engaged in a rich discussion regarding what piece was most appropriate.
The estimated cost of the project will be $5,000 to $7,000. The committee has a nominal budget, so the cost to rent Weiss’ piece will be privately funded. City funds allocated to the committee will be used for transportation of the project and a small per diem for the artist while she sets it up in the park. Tax-deductible donations may be made to the city to cover some expenses. Anyone wishing to donate may contact Diver at 302-228-1830.
This year’s temporary project is the latest in an effort to expand public art in Lewes. The public art committee commissioned a mural on the side of a Lewes Board of Public Works building facing the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail last summer. After an open call to artists to submit ideas for the wall, the committee used public input to aid in selecting a design. Philadelphia-based artist Kyle Confehr worked through Labor Day weekend to complete an energetic black-and-white piece that pops off the wall.
The city had also approved a temporary public art project for Canalfront Park last spring from artist Tom Fruin, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.