Key West Art & Historical Society’s Papio Kinetic Sculpture & Art Bike Parade Set to Roll Down Duval Street on April 22, 2023The Annual Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art
Bike Parade—a family-friendly, art-inspired, human-powered mobile sculpture and art-bike parade that celebrates creativity and innovation using recycled materials—is set to roll down the length of Duval Street on Saturday, April 22, which also happens to be Earth Day. Mobile sculptures and art bikes will launch at noon from the Key West Museum of Art & History, traveling the full length of Duval Street to the Southernmost Pocket Park where a block party and awards ceremony celebration will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.The annual parade celebrates endless imagination and encourages the use of reused materials, all the
while honoring Stanley Papio, a Florida Keys’ pioneering folk artist whose recycled metal sculptures teem with a clever sense of satire, tenacity and innovation. The country’s first Kinetic Sculpture Race rolled out in Ferndale, California in 1969, igniting a craze that later grew to include national race events in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Port Townshend. Since then, other communities, including Key West, have hosted kinetic events, offering their own variation of these floats-with-moving-parts parades.When kicking off its own parade in 2016, the Key West Art & Historical Society took the region’s laid-back attitude and eco-friendliness into
account, eliminating the “race” component and adding the element of “art bikes” for the town known for its pedaling revelers. Arising from a long-percolating idea, the project won the support of a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge grant that rewards the best and most innovative ideas in the arts, along with additional support from the Helmerich Trust, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.
In years past, Papio Parade spectators have been treated to the sight of inspired, entirely human-powered works of art, including a supersized narwhal that winked at onlookers, a pelican whose wings flapped as it towed parasailing minnows, an eagle ray powered by three bicycling men dressed as remoras, a race car with an engine made of discarded plumbing parts, and a 30-foot-long iguana fashioned from scrap cardboard spines. With 2023 creations underway by several “Papio Ambassador” artist teams and several school registrants supported by scholarships, this year’s parade promises to offer another visual feast for the eyes.
Add to the kinetic fun by registering your own kinetic sculpture float or art bike and joining the parade yourself. You can also support the parade and its participants by becoming a “Papio Pal”. Each year, the Society raises much needed funds to offer scholarships to local schools and artists to help propel select participants forward as they make their own floats and art bikes for the Papio Kinetic Parade, focusing on the elements of recycling and teambuilding.
For registration information, event schedule, sponsorship information and entry guidelines, visit www.papiokineticparade.com. Presented by Key West Art & Historical Society and co-produced by Wonderdog Studios, the kinetic extravaganza is supported in part by the State of Florida Division of Arts & Culture, The Helmerich Trust, Destination Florida, WeCycle, The Helmerich Trust, Keys Weekly, and Fran Sessa and Norman Hunt. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
IMAGE 1: The family friendly Papio Kinetic Sculpture & Art Bike Parade is set to return this Earth Day, April 22. Presented by the Key West Art & Historical Society & Wonderdog Studios, the parade will begin at the Key West Museum of Art & History at noon, travelling the full length of Duval Street, and finishing at the Southernmost Pocket Park with an awards ceremony. To register your float or art bike, or to find out more information, visit papiokineticparade.com (Image: Key West Art & Historical Society)
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