Giant net sculpture at LeBauer Park comes down for winter

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The sculpture that once heralded the fulfillment of Greensboro’s new LeBauer Park has been put away for the winter.

Artist Janet Echelman’s “Where We Met,” an immense project created from 35 miles of technical fibers and spanning 200 feet between 60-foot-tall masts, provided a vibrant sail to catch the wind of downtown revitalization.

With a $1-million grant from the Edward M. Armfield Sr. Foundation leading the commission, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro’s Public Art Endowment searched for an artist who could bring together the city’s history with North Carolina’s textile tradition. Echelman’s sculpture, which includes tracings of railway lines and markings for the historical textile mills along the routes, does just that.

According to Echelman’s webpage, the fibers themselves are stronger than steel by weight and completely resistant to UV radiation. But wintry weather proves too great a nemesis.

Cecelia Thompson, executive director at Action Greensboro — an organization working to strengthen the city’s economy and quality of life — said the sculpture was always meant to be seasonal.

“The thin fiber was chosen so it could move with the breeze, not survive ice,” she explained.

Just before Christmas, Greensboro Downtown Parks — a non-for-profit agency that manages and maintains LeBauer Park —made the call to take the sculpture down, rushing to beat the arrival of potentially harmful winter weather in the forecast.

The sculpture’s hibernation lasts until late March or early April, depending on the weather at that time. A public event will take place for the reinstallation, when the vibrant sculpture heralds the beginning of spring.