Janet Echelman: Reshaping Public Spaces

BOONE, NC— October 13, 2014—Appalachian State University presents a lecture titled “Reshaping

Public Space” by artist Janet Echelman. Echelman will discuss her extraordinary work that intersects

fine art, ancient craft, cutting-edge technology, architecture, and public art. The lecture will be held

on October 29, 2014 at 6:30 pm in the Blue Ridge Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union.

Echelman’s visit to Appalachian State University is organized by the Smith Gallery and sponsored by

the Department of Art, Smith Gallery, Student Development, and the Turchin Center for the Visual


American artist Janet Echelman builds soft, billowing sculpture at the scale of buildings that respond

to the forces of nature — wind, water, and light. She combines ancient craft with cutting-edge

technology to create ultra-lightweight sculptures that move gently with the wind in ever-changing

patterns. Her art is an inviting focal point for civic life and shifts from being an object you look at, to

something you can get lost in.

Echelman is an artist who defies categorization. Early in her career, every art school Echelman

applied to rejected her. To date, she has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Harvard

University Loeb Fellowship, a Fulbright Lectureship, and the Aspen Institute Henry Crown

Fellowship. Her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages with

more than one million views, and she was invited back to speak on the TED main stage in 2014 for

their all-star 30th anniversary conference. Ranked number one on Oprah Magazine’s List of 50 Things

that Make You Say Wow!, Echelman was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the

very essence of urban spaces.” Echelman’s TED talk can be viewed at


Recent commissions include: “Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks,” a 745-ft sculpture that

premiered at the 2014 TED Conference; “Water Sky Garden,” a commission for the 2010 Vancouver

Winter Olympics; “She Changes” on the waterfront in Porto, Portugal; and "Every Beating Second" in

San Francisco Airport's new Terminal Two. Her award-winning installation spanning two city blocks

in downtown Phoenix, “Her Secret is Patience,” has been credited with creating a sense of place

that fosters urban identity and revitalization. Her traveling exhibition, “1.26,” opened at the Biennial of

the Americas and traveled to Sydney, Australia, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Singapore.

Projects currently in construction include an urban icon celebrating the textile history in Greensboro

North Carolina; the remaking of Dilworth Plaza in front of Philadelphia City Hall - turning it into a

garden of dry-mist; a new ionic piece for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle

giving visual from to their mission; an interactive sculpture/architectural installation for the Matthew

Knight Arena at the University of Oregon; and a monumental sculpture for the Rose Kennedy

Greenway in Boston.


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