Snails, Meerkats, Wolves, Oh My

Colorful animal sculptures coming to Cleveland’s Public Square

Art Midwest
(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)
(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)

Nonprofit Cleveland-based LAND Studio has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation to install temporary outdoor art over the course of three years. The installations have been designed by Italian art collective Cracking Art Group.

Art will be displayed in the city’s Public Square, currently in the final stages of a $50 million overhaul by New York Firm James Corner Field Operations. The Mall and balconies and garden of the main Cleveland Public Library will also be used as locations.

(Courtesy LAND Studio)

(Courtesy LAND Studio)

Based in Milan, Cracking Art Group are well known for interspersing brightly-colored oversized animals across the city. Clevelanders can expect huge yellow snails or mobs of pink meerkats to invade the ten-acre civic space, adding a vibrant dash of color to the scene.

(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)

(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)

Other animal additions include groups of swallows, wolves, frogs, and a red elephant, are set to be the showpiece focal point of the installation. Rising to some eight feet high, the elephant, the symbol of the GOP, will welcome Donald Trump and co. to the area for the Republican National Convention this year on July 18.



(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)

(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)

Being made from plastic, the colorful animals will not be fixed to the ground, allowing for children to interact with them though LAND Studio acknowledge that this means some could be stolen. Others, meanwhile, will be weighed down with sand to keep them in place.

(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)

(Courtesy Cracking Art Group via LAND Studio)

“The choice of recyclable plastic for its aesthetic appeal shows acceptance of the inevitability that our world is becoming increasingly artificial,” say Cracking Art Group on their wesbite. “The artworks are designed to inspire a community-wide conversation about the importance and the environmental impact of recycling, while leaving a potent artistic trace.”

Picnic hill inside Public Square (Courtesy LAND Studio)

Picnic hill inside Public Square (Courtesy LAND Studio)

Before the installation can go up, however, the the city’s Landmarks Commission has to award approval to the finalized proposals, though it was reported that “stakeholders, including the city, have already weighed in.”

Even when the animals leave the area however, LAND Studio, who are working alongside fellow stakeholders Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, James Corner Field Operations and Nelson Nygaard hope that their colorful impact will remain with Public Square that they will essentially inaugurate.



concert hill design

“Public Square will be transformed from four individual quadrants into a singular public park that can be used throughout the year for a wide range of programs and events,” they say.  “Landscape and design will create a soft colorful space that invites people in and encourages them to stay. The Square will include pedestrian pathways, green spaces for concerts and events, areas to sit and lounge, a water feature, a café and restrooms. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument will remain, but will be integrated into the overall park and become more accessible.”

Pavilion inside Public Square (Courtesy LAND Studio)

Pavilion inside Public Square (Courtesy LAND Studio)

The display by Cracking Art will feature 376 of the group’s standard creatures, plus a bright red elephant, standing more than, which begins July 18.

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