A group of 22 brightly painted foam figures floated in Boston's Fort Point Channel for two months in 2016. The Swimmers relate the Channel to the seas crossed by those in search of shelter, freedom, prosperity and safety. They invoke Boston's long history of welcoming immigrants. Each figure represents nearly 1 million of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' estimated 21.3 million refugees in the world today.
Animated by the environment, SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) take on a life of their own. Changing weather conditions and different viewpoints give the installation a range of meanings. It's open to viewer interpretation, and it's definitely a conversation starter.
Created as part of Fort Point Arts Community's Floating Art Program, SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) was FPAC's most successful project to date in terms of audience engagement. The installation gained widespread media recognition including articles, blogs and comments from local, national and international sites in Fort Point, Wisconsin, Europe, Hong Kong and beyond.
FPAC's social media platform exploded in the days and weeks following the installation, with hundreds of comments sparking thousands of reposts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The organization had more than 440 new engagements alone in the days following the installation's deployment, including quotes, retweets, likes and replies.
Size and Materials:
50 feet by 30 feet.
22 cast polyurethane foam figures, pvc conduit, anchoring system, buoy paint.
Fort Point Arts Community and Friends of Fort Point Channel.
PDF information sheet:
SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) printable PDF information sheet