A neglected community park in Allegheny Square is rising up as an ethereal cloud of hope and technology.
Cloud Arbor is the first sign of renewal to take place in the new Buhl Public Park, located across from the Children's Museum. It is the second work of art in the area by artist and MacArthur Genius winner Ned Kahn of San Francisco.
The piece is a sort of bookend to his "Articulated Cloud" a tall structure composed of thousands of translucent white plastic squares that move with the wind like a digitized waterfall.
Buhl Community Park is part of a revitalized plan for Pittsburgh's Northside. In 2012, Children's Museum led a $6.1 million collaborative effort to transform the neglected city park into a vibrant green space for the neighborhood.
It's a metaphor for the future, when the promise of a cloud extends far beyond a creation of the natural world. The work is comprised of 64 poles that extend 32 feet skyward and are embedded with nozzles that spray a fine mist of water, creating a spherical cloud that is suspended in the air.
It's an interesting blend of art and science, says Bill Schlageter, director of marketing. The water is compressed at a very high speed in a molecular fashion to create pure water droplets.
In addition to art, the new park will feature a central plaza with tables and chairs, a large meadow with native grasses, rain gardens for storm water mitigation, natural bluestone walls for seating and indigenous plant materials throughout, as well as benches, bike racks, and drinking fountains for both visitors and their pets.
Buhl Community Park will officially open to the public on Saturday, June 23. Cloud Arbor was funded by The Charity Randall Foundation, a local family foundation dedicated to the arts, education and the environment.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Bill Schlageter, Children's Museum
Artist Ned Kahn watches a test of “CloudArbor” located at the new Buhl Community Park at Allegheny Square across from the Children’s Museum. Photographer: Larry Rippel.