Public art has arrived at Playland Park, as Westchester County Executive George Latimer unveiled the first art exhibit on the boardwalk in over five decades in partnership with BCW members ArtsWestchester and the Westchester Parks Foundation.
Called the Floating Forest, ceramic jellyfish are suspended from the ceiling at varying heights with lights casted down upon them, creating an engaging and interactive piece that both adults and children alike can enjoy. Take a walk through an underwater forest and engulf yourself in the mystical world of the sea while being surrounded by the floating magical creatures that are both fascinating and fearsome – jellyfish.
“To me, nothing quite says summer like a stroll down the Playland Boardwalk, and I am so thrilled that young, inspired artists will be breathing new life into space that has been left vacant for decades,” Latimer said. “I invite Westchester residents from all corners of the County to come and visit Playland this summer, and to take advantage of the new and exciting programs we have to offer. Art on the boardwalk is a natural fit, and I want to thank ArtsWestchester and the Westchester County Parks Foundation for supporting Art on the Beach.”
The exhibit was created by artist Tatjana Kunst, who was inspired to create the work after suffering a severe jellyfish sting as a child. “From that day, I found myself in awe of this creature so beautiful, yet so capable of harm,” she said. “This Floating Forest takes a potentially harmful organism and turns it into one of beauty.”
Floating Forest was selected out of a group of 54 submissions made by artists and arts groups to ArtsWestchester, Westchester County and the Westchester Parks Foundation. The exhibit will fill up a storefront space in the south bathhouse that has been unoccupied for a decade, and will remain for the rest of the summer for visitors to enjoy.
“Public art is a wonderful addition to the Playland Boardwalk, and the BCW shares in the excitement of attracting more visitors to this historic county park and property,” said Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester.
The Art on the Beach initiative is a pilot for a future series of creative interventions at the park. It aims to infuse more public art experiences into the Playland’s ever-growing list of attractions. Artists drew inspiration from many sources in their proposals for the 700+ square foot space that overlooks the Long Island Sound. Some were inspired by Playland’s historic Dragon Coaster, famously featured in Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” video; others reminisced about the hand-carved horses on the Park’s carousel, currently under restoration after a 2017 fire; and some artists desired to raise awareness about plastic waste and environmental preservation with the use of recycled materials.