This will be your one chance to light up the Echelman sculpture

Plus, the installation is only around for two more weeks.

UPDATE: Friday’s two HUBweek events have been cancelled due to inclement weather. The Rose Kennedy Greenway will provide information at a later time regarding a rescheduled Echelman closing event.

For the past six months, Janet Echelman’s sculpture “As If It Were Already Here’’ has decorated the sky above the Rose Kennedy Greenway with rainbow-hued miles of twine that react with the elements, swaying with the wind and glinting in the sunlight.

But for us down on the ground, the piece has only been so interactive — until now.

The sculpture is set to be taken down on October 24 so, in conjunction with the end of Boston’s inaugural HUBweek this weekend, Bostonians are getting an exclusive chance to control colored lighting that projects onto Echelman’s 600-foot creation before its final fortnight.


In a two-part celebration of public art, the Greenway Conservancy and HUBweek are hosting a Block Party on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. in Dewey Square Park, followed by the Echelman Sculpture Closing Celebration farther down the Greenway from 7 to 9 p.m.

For the Block Party — which will also feature beer and wine for purchase, lawn games, and music — the Greenway paired with local art company IdeaPaint to set up a giant color-by-number wall mural of Boston landmarks, allowing people to color in different sections with dry-erase markers.

“We’re going to create it and erase it all in one night, so it’s the most temporary piece of art we’ve had on the Greenway,’’ said Michael Nichols, chief of staff at the Greenway Conservancy. “[At the Greenway,] we really view ourselves as the place where interactive art in Boston happens.’’

From there, the crowd will migrate to the area right underneath the Echelman sculpture for a one-time-only chance to illuminate the piece themselves.

“We’ve heard how much the sculpture has meant to [people] over the course of the year,’’ Nichols said. “It’s wonderful to hear, but we haven’t had a way for people to directly express it that interacts with the piece.’’


Laura Jasinski, the Greenway’s director of programs and planning, explained that, through a person’s smartphone connection with the Wi-Fi, a website will pop up that prompts that person with questions. Depending on how they’re answered, different colors will shine from two separate projectors set up on staging areas.

Nichols said he’s been describing the event as a “color war’’ because people can only control a portion of the lights at once.

“Groups of people who share similar feelings could overpower colors of other groups of people,’’ he said, “evolving it into a tapestry of colors.’’

Artist Janet Echelman, right, with her mother, Anne Echelman Kantor, and daughter Lilly Echelman Feldman, during her sculpture’s opening reception. —Josh Reynolds / The Boston Globe

For example, one of the questions on the website will be, “Do you consider Boston your home?’’ the artist Janet Echelman said. “Then your phone starts to pulse with that [answer’s] color — so you can look around you and see what other people are saying and see how you relate — and then it sorts of leaps from you up to the netting, so the sculpture surface is proportionately reflecting the colors of everyone’s thoughts. It almost becomes a city mood ring.’’

Echelman said she’s excited to see her piece come alive in this new light.

“The changing wind along the Greenway has been breathing life into the sculpture every day, and to see members of the public start to breathe their life into it, through their personal thoughts and choices, is very exciting to me,’’ Echelman said.

“And it’s this idea of being able to see things that are unseen — like the wind, which is usually something we know is there but can’t see it. Now it’s like the thoughts and feelings of each of us are being reflected back to us collectively.’’


Click here for more information about the Dewey Square Block Party and the Echelman Sculpture Closing Celebration.

Loading Comments...