The Coming Red And Blue Cloud Above Gay And High

We will soon be getting a new neighbor in the Gay Street District of downtown Columbus–but instead of being at street level, like most of our neighbors, this addition will be floating above the ground, suspended from supports attached to the four buildings at the intersection of Gay and High Streets.

The new neighbor will be a sculpture, called “Current,” by Janet Echelman. The artwork will be a red and blue, cloud-like object that apparently will look something like the picture above once it is installed. According to news reports, it was made with 78 miles of twine and more than 500,000 knots.

That’s a lot of knots!

“Current” is supposed to be installed in early June. It will be a significant piece of public art in Columbus, and civic boosters are hoping that it will have the same kind of visual appeal and tourist-attracting power as “The Bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park. If that happens, we can expect to see “Current” as the backdrop for a lot of selfies.

It will be interesting to see how “Current” works out. Speaking as someone who walks through the Gay and High Street intersection every day, I wonder about the practical impact of a large, knotty sculpture suspended overhead. How will it handle the inevitable summer thunderstorm? Will traffic be snarled as drivers gape at the huge red and blue object overhead? Can it be changed to scarlet and gray during football season? Will I inevitably appear as a random background pedestrian in hundreds of selfies taken as I walk to and from work every day?

I like the fact that Columbus is trying something interesting like this, and I really hope it works out as planned.