'Her Secret Is Patience' – Phoenix, Arizona - Atlas Obscura

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'Her Secret Is Patience'

This striking public art installation is suspended above a public park, designed to gently move in the breeze.  


A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience,” inspired the title of this massive public art installation created by Janet Echelman and located above Phoenix’s Civic Space Park.

The aerial structure is 145 feet tall, suspended 38 feet off the ground, and rising more than 100 feet in the air. The sculpture was made using galvanized steel, polyester twine netting, and colored lights. The creation was a combined effort between the artist and a team of engineers, architects, planners, lighting designers, and fabricators.

Echelman is known for her large-scale fiber sculptures. While in Hong Kong in the late 1990s, she was inspired to try a new approach to sculpture while watching fishermen bundling their nets. Many of  Echelman’s pieces use intricate net-like materials to create large forms that seem light as air.

Her Secret Is Patience was designed to create “shadow drawings,” which the artist explains are inspired by Arizona’s cloud shadows that enthralled her on her first visit. During the day the structure moves with the breeze. At night the structure is lit up with a kaleidoscope range of colors, which change with the seasons. 

Know Before You Go

Must park on the street. Visit at night. The sculpture does not appear to be lit every night; schedule is unknown.

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