The Port of San Diego is presenting a dual-site fiber art installation by artist Randy Walker as part of its Maritime Month celebration in May. Maritime Month is the Port’s unique extended celebration of National Maritime Day, which is held on May 22. National Maritime Day pays special tribute to merchant marines and to the benefits that the maritime industry provides to the country. Walker’s artworks, entitled “Sweet Contents” and “Under Wraps,” will be unveiled in May and on view to the public through February 2019.
Commissioned as part of the Port’s public art initiative, Port Spaces, Walker will create two site-specific works, bringing color and inspiration to the landscapes of Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and National City Marine Terminal. His large-scale fiber installations will explore activity that occurs on the two maritime terminals while serving as icons of the many connections between the cities of San Diego and National City. Both artworks were specifically designed as pop-up creative encounters for the community to experience in the parks adjacent to the terminals, Cesar Chavez Park and Pepper Park pier.
“The Port is proud to present these two dynamic artworks by Randy Walker,” said Port Commissioner Marshall Merrifield. “These installations bring a creative experience to the public, turning an industrial area into a space that allows residents and visitors to feel connected and inspired.”
Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal will see the creation of “Sweet Contents,” a sculptural intervention on three storage tanks, nicknamed “the molasses tanks,” which were formerly used to store molasses and palm oil. Beginning April 9, 2018 Walker and his crew will drape more than 40 miles of brightly colored nautical fiber down the sides of the three tanks, effectively painting them with a palette of vivid stripes.
The second artwork, “Under Wraps,” will be on view at National City Marine Terminal. It embraces the work of terminal operator Pasha Automotive Services (PAS), which processes hundreds of thousands of auto imports annually. PAS’ sister company, Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals, has donated a decommissioned passenger van that will serve as the artist’s object for artistic intervention. This van was used in operations to transfer longshore workers from the terminal to the ship during vessel discharges.
Additionally, community members are invited to attend a workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 21, 2018 at A Reason to Survive (A.R.T.S.), 200 East 12thStreet, National City to work hand-in-hand with Walker to wrap the van in colorful fiber. Walker will then transport the van to the National City Marine Terminal, where the vehicle will be placed on the terminal’s southeastern edge. Free refreshments and giveaways will be available at the workshop.
Walker, a Minneapolis-based fiber artist, known for wrapping buildings, bridges and other large-scale structures with fiber, was selected for this commission through an open call selection process. In 2012, his temporary public art installation, “Passage,” was named one of the 50 best public art projects of the year by Americans for the Arts in its 2012 Public Art Network Year in Review. Walker received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from University of Oregon and recently received a McKnight Foundation/Forecast Public Art Midcareer Public Art Project Grant.