Internationally recognized artist Janet Echelman was born in Tampa. Trained as a painter, Echelman began experimenting with fishing nets as an artistic medium in India when her paints did not arrive in time for an exhibition. “Bending Arc” is Echelman’s largest sculpture to date, constructed of 180 miles of twine and installed in 2020 at the St. Pete Pier. In the late 1950s, the artwork’s location was the site of civil disobedience by Black citizens until the beach and pool were opened as an integrated facility in 1959. These events prompted Echelman to take her title from the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Margaret Miller is the director of the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Graphicstudio and Public Art.
What is USF’s Graphicstudio? Check it out here.