Key West Art & Historical Society brings the island’s creativity to a new level of celebration with its inaugural Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade on Saturday, May 14th, with additional festivities on Friday and Sunday as well. Here’s the low-down if you’re just now tuning in:
1. LET’S GET KINETIC! It’s a family-friendly, art-inspired, human-powered, mobile sculpture and art-bike parade! Think art with parts that move. Watch the one-hour cavalcade on May 14th wind down Duval Street, or BE in the parade (register first at papioskineticparade.com) that starts moving at noon at the Custom House Museum.
2. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. No need to be the next Stanley Papio or Theo Jansen to make your own Kinetic Sculpture Float or Art Bike—some creative inclination mixed with a dash of kinetic savvy will do. Bust out with your own human-powered “Strandbeest” or pedal a cruiser in your best tutu with your toddler twins in tow— it’s all good. Not sure how to begin? Visit papioskineticparade.com/what-is-a-kinetic-sculpture for some inspiration.
3. WHO IS PAPIO, YOU ASK? That would be the late Key Largo folk artist Stanley Papio, rebellious welder-turned artist who explored recycled materials long before it was hip to be rusty. Papio transformed his collected metal— old cars, washing machines and other metal appliances piled high in his yard — into extraordinary pieces of art, many of them offering comical and caustic commentary on neighbors and naysayers.
While none of Papio’s sculptures were made to be mobile, the parade is a nod to both his legacy and collection of work— more than 100 sculptural objects and three-dimensional constructions housed in a newly renovated permanent exhibit at Fort East Martello, with a free opening celebration on Saturday, May 14th from 5:30-7pm featuring libations and music by Ben Harrison— and a wink to the rebel, outsider spirit in us all.
Want to know more about this pioneering folk artist? Check out the free kick-off presentation by historian Sharon Wells from 4-5pm on Friday, May 13th at the Custom House Museum.
4. PUT SOME FUNK INTO YOUR JUNK. Human Powered Kinetic Sculpture Floats and Art Bikes can be simple, whimsical, futuristic, or fantastical—the only requirement is that they are physically moved by you (and/or a teammate(s)). Recycling is highly encouraged, wit and humor loudly applauded. Welding, wheels, gears, wire, or glue?—it’s entirely up to you. But choose soon—May 14th is looming, with cash prizes to entice you towards your best efforts!
5. IT ALL BEGINS AND ENDS WITH A PARTY. Everyone can get kinetic the night before the parade (Friday the 13th from 5-8pm) with free performance by Patrick and the Swayzees and a full bar in front of the Custom House Museum, along with last-minute registration and volunteer sign-ups. After the parade (Saturday, May 14th from 1-2:30), there will be revelry and fanfare at the Southernmost Beach Café with awards, drinks, food, and more.
Have some fun and make Papio proud—give a rebel yell and sign up now. Parade registration is $25 for Kinetic Sculpture Float teams and $15 for each Art Bike. Don’t forget to check out the parade’s creations with a special exhibition at Fort East Martello from 9:30am-4:30pm Sunday, May 15th. The creative spirit of the Florida Keys community is always a sight to behold!
Sponsored in part by The Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge, The Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For more information visit www.papioskineticparade.com or call Adele Williams, 305.295.6616 x 115. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.