Oklahoma City SkyDance Bridge is one of nation's top 50 public arts projects

The SkyDance Bridge was recently recognized by a national arts organization as one of the nation's top 50 public arts projects.
BY OLIVIA INGLE oingle@opubco.com Published: June 19, 2012

A national nonprofit group recently named Oklahoma City's SkyDance Bridge one of the nation's 50 best public art projects.

Americans for the Arts tabbed the bridge, which spans the new Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway, in the nonprofit's 2012 Public Art Network Year in Review.

SkyDance was chosen from more than 393 works from 147 cities.

“This award provides recognition for the fact that we value public art,” said Russell Claus, Oklahoma City's planning director. “Pieces of this size are important to the city and what it represents.”

Since 2000, Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network Year in Review program has annually recognized innovative public artworks.

SkyDance Bridge, commissioned by the City of Oklahoma City, is a public artwork that serves as a pedestrian bridge. It opened to foot traffic April 23.

The bridge spans I-40 near Harvey Avenue. It is 380 feet long, 20 feet wide and 192 feet tall. The design was inspired by Oklahoma's state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher.

Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said public art such as SkyDance Bridge gives places a sense of identity and makes an impact on people's lives.

Hans Butzer, a co-designer and a manager of the SkyDance project, said the award says a lot about the people he's fortunate enough to work with.

“The community really rallied around the project,” Butzer said. “We also received great support from the city.”


Other projects of note

The bridge is not Oklahoma City's first public art project to receive recognition by the Public Art Network. Other recognized projects in previous years include the Oklahoma City National Memorial and a series of murals called “The History of Bricktown.” Russell Claus said it's great that three projects in the city have been recognized over the years by the Public Art Network. He hopes the recognition becomes more frequent.

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