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Fort Myers CRA, Edison Awards names artists for Fort Myers’ Innovation Walk

The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), in partnership with the Edison Awards, have selected four creative visionaries and their proposals to create engaging, transformational art installations to be built along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River in downtown Fort Myers.

The goal of Innovation Walk is to marry art with innovation, transforming and populating a meandering, mile-long waterfront park pathway with enduring installations and experiences that intrigue curiosity and celebrate human creativity. Innovation Walk builds upon the legacy of imaginative invention in Lee County – think Thomas Edison and Hendry Ford – and melds the past with future-forward thinkers.

Artists must design, produce and install projects within eight months of receiving the award. The goal for full completion of the project is February 2025.

Meet the creative visionaries and the installations selected for Innovation Walk:

“Take Off” by Marisa Morán Jahn and Rafi Segal

Take Off” is an installation inspired by the human desire to fly and the ongoing quest to harness air and defy gravity. The installation invites visitors to walk inside and up the interior ramp, imagining themselves as a bird gathering speed to take off in flight. As the visitor walks up the ramp, dramatic views frame the sky and the Caloosahatchee River, which is home to various shorebirds. The installation includes a fun surprise at the end of the ramp: a slide that invites momentary exhilaration and quick return to the ground.

“What’s endearing about humans is that we’re essentially landlubbers with airborne aspirations,” says artists, Marisa Morán Jahn and Rafi Segal. Jahn is a Senior Researcher at MIT and Director of Integrated Design at Parsons/The New School. Jahn’s work exemplifies the possibilities of art as social practice and explores civic spaces and the radical art of play.

Segal is an architect and Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at MIT where he directs the Future Urban Collectives lab. His current work focuses on how emerging notions of collectivity can impact the design of buildings and cities. In addition to “Take Off,” he is working on designs for new communal neighborhoods in Israel, Boston, Rwanda and the Philippines.

“The Blue Lights” by Adrian L. Burrell

“The Blue Lights” will consist of strategically placed solar-powered ground lights tracing the path of the Innovation Walk. The lights will have a blue iridescent sculpted surface, reminiscent of seashells, and feature embossed designs. The installation celebrates light, not only as a source of illumination, but also as a representation of a liminal space between day and night, and consciousness and unconsciousness. The title, “The Blue Lights,” is inspired by blues music and the writings of Clyde Woods, representing the resilience and creativity of black culture. It’s a great homage to co-creation of Edison and Latimer.

Artist, Adrian Burrell is a US Marine Corps veteran and graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and Stanford University. He is a third-generation Oakland artist utilizing photography, installation, experimental media, storytelling and intergenerational dynamics to portray the complex interconnectedness of society today. His work is in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“Put Yourself in the Picture Fort Myers” by Roberto Lugo

“Put Yourself in the Picture Fort Myers” is a public sculpture installation that celebrates the Calusa indigenous Native Americans, featuring cultural hieroglyphics of their everyday life and shell technologies. Public sculpture is one of the most accessible forms of art and an opportunity to engage the surrounding community. “Put Yourself in the Picture Fort Myers” will allow visitors the opportunity to walk inside a sculpture and observe the piece and paintings at multiple angles and vantage points.

“It’s a dream come true to create a sculpture for the Ft Myers Innovation Walk,” says Roberto Lugo, the visionary behind “Put Yourself in the Picture Fort Myers.” Lugo is a ceramicist, poet and educator who graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and Penn State. Lugo is based in Philadelphia, but the state of Florida has significance in his life as an artist – it’s where, at 25 years old, he took his first art class at a community college. “Put Yourself in the Picture Fort Myers” is a tribute to his family and the Afro-Latinx community in Fort Myers. “Our survival and strength are a testament to creativity and the ability to innovate and adapt in the face of hardship,” Lugo states.

Learn more at TheInnovationWalk.com/Fort-Myers-CRA-Edison-Awards-Names-Artists-for-Fort-Myers-Innovation-Walk.

About Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA):

The Fort Myers CRA is dedicated to the revitalization and enhancement of the Fort Myers River District and surrounding areas. With a focus on fostering economic growth, enhancing the quality of life, and preserving the unique character of the community, the CRA implements strategies and projects that promote sustainable development and cultural enrichment. The Innovation Walk is a testament to the CRA’s commitment to innovative urban transformation and community engagement. Visit FortMyersCRA.com.

About the Edison Awards:

Renowned for recognizing and honoring the world’s best innovations and innovators, the Edison Awards inspire imagination and ingenuity across the globe. Their partnership in the Innovation Walk project underscores a shared vision for celebrating creativity and technological advancements. The Edison Awards bring their expertise in highlighting groundbreaking ideas and a legacy of encouraging forward-thinking concepts to this collaborative effort. Visit edisonawards.com//.

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