A group of 22 brightly painted foam figures floated in Boston's Fort Point Channel for two months in 2016. The Swimmers relate the Channel to the seas crossed by those in search of shelter, freedom, prosperity and safety. They evoke Boston's long history of welcoming immigrants. Each figure represents more than 1 million of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated 22.5 million refugees in the world today.
Animated by the environment, SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) take on a life of their own. Changing weather conditions and different viewpoints give the installation a range of meanings. It's open to viewer interpretation, and it's definitely a conversation starter.
Created as part of Fort Point Arts Community's Floating Art Program, SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) was FPAC's most successful project to date in terms of audience engagement. The installation gained widespread media recognition including articles, blogs and comments from local, national and international sites in Fort Point, Wisconsin, Europe, Hong Kong and beyond.
FPAC's social media platform exploded in the days and weeks following the installation, with hundreds of comments sparking thousands of reposts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The organization had more than 440 new engagements alone in the days following the installation's deployment, including quotes, retweets, likes and replies.
Size and Materials:
30 feet by 20 feet.
22 cast polyurethane foam figures, pvc conduit, anchoring system, buoy paint.
Process Slide Show:
SOS Fabrication Slides
Awards, Honors and Recognition:
Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review 2017
PAN Year in Review Press Release PDF
ArtPrize® Nine Featured Public Project: Grand River
Seen in Grand Rapids, Michigan during ArtPrize Nine!
SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) floated in the Grand River, downtown Grand Rapids, September 19 - October 9, 2017. Voted one of the top 20 finalists.
Promotional and installation information:
Printable SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) brochure