Giant, eco-friendly jellyfish greets downtown Green Bay
By John McCracken
GREEN BAY – Dozens of plastic water bottles have found a new home on Adams Street in downtown Green Bay.
They’re not in a recycling bin, rather attached to a giant jellyfish.
“Salva Jelly” is a new permanent sculpture created with recycled and reused materials, such as scrap metal, reclaimed wood and plastic bottles.
The installation is a joint project between the Green Bay Public Arts Commission (GBPAC) and the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development.
Milwaukee illustrator and sculptor Brandon Minga designed the jellyfish alongside artists from House of RAD studio.
Speaking at a July 1 sculpture unveiling, Minga said the design process took upwards of six months.
The larger-than-life jellyfish promotes clean energy alongside its recycled material-based skeleton as the interactive sculpture is completely solar-powered.
“It’s about uniting us about creativity, about thinking about our planet about saving things, thinking about recycling differently,” Minga said.
Jeff Mirkes, director of Downtown Green Bay and Olde Main Street, said sustainability is not the only benefit the sculpture brings to downtown.
“What a unique place for an art piece of this nature,” Mirkes said. “On a great street, things are happening, new restaurants are opening in a downtown that has a commitment to vibrancy.”
Alexander Zacarias, director of diversity and youth voice at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay and GBPAC vice-chair, said investing in public art injects a sense of belonging and attracts people to the city.
“The wonderful thing about the arts, like the one we will unveil tonight, is its capability of turning Green Bay into a choice tourism destination, from seniors to children,” Zacarias said.
The sculpture was funded through Community Development Block Grant funds from the Green Bay Redevelopment Authority.
GBPAC recently had a call for artists to apply for their Paint in the Parks mural project, a joint effort by GBPAC and the Green Bay Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department to install 10 murals at parks across the city.
GBPAC also facilitates a rolling annual grant program that provides funding for up to 50% of a total art project’s cost with a maximum of $1,500 to artists who need financial support for a public art installation.
“Salva Jelly” is not the only sustainability-focused animal sculpture found in the city right now.
“Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea” – an eight-piece, traveling sculpture exhibit made from plastic junk found in oceans and rivers – is currently on display at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens through Sept. 26.