When the city of Fort Worth, Texas, set out to make streetscape improvements in a residential neighborhood bisected by a creek, nearby residents had a few requests. In addition to the walkways they city had planned, they wanted new benches and garbage cans along the new paths to reduce litter problems. Both were simple enough, and the city agreed. Then the residents asked for a slightly bigger amenity: a pedestrian bridge over the 80-foot-wide creek. With costs ranging into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, a new pedestrian bridge, the city said, was not within its budget.
But Anne Allen, who administers the public art program for the City of Fort Worth, had another idea. “I said we have public art funds. Maybe we could do an artist-designed pedestrian bridge?” she says.
And so public art and civic infrastructure became one. The city sent out a request for qualifications, and soon selected Portland-based artist Volkan Alkanoglu to design the project. Alkanoglu, who has a background in architecture, has designed futuristic sculptures, pavilions, and art pieces for civic buildings, universities and airports around the U.S. “The community asked for a bridge and we found the funds to be able to deliver a beautiful sculpture that is also a bridge,” Allen says.