A new art installation by renowned eco-artist Stacy Levy is in place at Lake Fayetteville.
The 129-foot-long “Spiral Wetland” structure, which floats on the surface of the lake, was commissioned by Walton Arts Center as part of the 2013 Artosphere festival.
Levy said the work was inspired largely by Robert Smithson’s 1970 “Spiral Jetty” sculpture on the Great Salt Lake. While Levy’s piece has a similar form to Smithson’s work, “Spiral Wetland” also functions to provide shade for fish habitats, and to remove excess nitrogen and phosphorous from the lake.
“100 percent of my work is always about some kind of natural process that I’m trying to show,” she said. “Sometimes, my work has a job to do, and this is one of those cases.”
Levy said that she would have to cover five percent of the surface of the lake to remove all of the excess nutrients that need to be removed, but that the native juncus effusus grass chosen for the work would definitely make an impact.
“It’s not always about totally solving the problem,” she said. “It’s about suggesting that there is a solution in this world. And also, that solutions – and science – sometimes can be really beautiful.”
Levy said the wetland grasses will become greener, and grow to about two feet in the coming months.
“This piece is made to change,” she said. “It’s nice to make art that, every time you look at it, it’s a little bit different.”
The installation will be in place for a little over a year – possibly longer – before it is dismantled, and disseminated to other bodies of water, or replanted in other wetland areas.
Levy said she chose the Lake Fayetteville location for the work in part for the proximity to the trail that runs near the lake.
“I like to work in semi-urban nature, where people are, and I think it’s very important to have an audience for this,” she said. “This place has the perfect amphitheater, (the trail is) a rolling causeway of people going by to see the piece.
“Plus, it’s a lake that could use the help, so I’m glad to be able to provide some.”
Levy, who lives in Pennsylvania, said she isn’t sure if she’ll have a chance to come back and check on the work as it grows and evolves over time.
“I want to build one at Crystal Bridges on their lagoon,” she said. “If I get another reason to come down, I definitely would. Fayetteville is a great place, and, I’ve really enjoyed it here.”