March 11, 2020 – (Key West, FL). Key West’s version of country wide Kinetic Parade craze set for April 4
Key West has long been known for its kinetic energy, but on Saturday, April 4 it will become quite literal when human-powered art sculptures take over the island during the Fifth Annual Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade. The family-friendly cavalcade of art-inspired, mobile sculptures and art bikes will launch at noon from the Custom House Museum, traveling the full length of Duval Street to the Pocket Park where a block party awards ceremony celebration will take place from 1:30pm – 3:00pm. The Parade celebrates creativity and innovation while honoring Stanley Papio, a Florida Keys’ pioneering folk artist whose recycled metal sculptures teem with a clever sense of satire, tenacity, and innovation— key ingredients in kinetic parades across the country.
The country’s first Kinetic Sculpture Race rolled out in Ferndale, California in 1969, igniting a craze that later grew to include national cutting-edge race events in Humbolt, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Port Townshend. Since then, other communities have joined the kinetic craze, offering their own variation of these floats-with-moving-parts-parades.
When kicking off its own Parade in May 2016, Key West Art & Historical Society took the region’s laid-back attitude and rebel ingenuity 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 of former Society staff member Gerri Sidoti, which 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, the Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade was set into motion.
In past years, Key West spectators have been treated to the sight of astonishingly imaginative, totally human-powered works of art, including a supersized narwhal that winked at spectators, a pelican whose widespread wings flapped as it towed “parasailing” minnows, a 15-foot-long silver “time machine” made of moving gears and cogs with a futuristically-costumed human pilot, an eagle ray powered by three bicycling men dressed as remoras, a “ship” with waves, straight out of “Where The Wild Things Are, ” a race car with an engine made of discarded plumbing parts, and a 30-foot-long iguana with scrap cardboard spines. With the 2020 creations underway by several “Papio Ambassador” artist teams and several school registrants supported by scholarships and led by “Kinetic Coaches” Suzanne Brown, Crystal Smith, and Kevin Lisinski, this year’s Parade promises to offer another astounding visual feast for the eyes.
Show up early for the parade line-up spectacle next to the Custom House Museum or watch the floats and art bikes roll down Duval Street. Or add to the kinetic fun by registering your own kinetic sculpture float or art bike and joining the parade yourself. Parade participants will also enjoy free museum entry to Fort East Martello Museum from 11:30pm to 4:30pm on Sunday, April 5, to explore the museum’s extensive “Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel” exhibition.
For registration information, event schedule, entry guidelines, festival tickets, and sponsorship information, 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 Cultural Affairs, The Helmerich Trust, Destination Florida, Historic Tours of America, Law Offices of Samuel J. Kaufman, P.A., Kimpton Key West, and Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
Spectators watch as juvenile green turtle Chase Cantrell pursues jelly-fish Elle Fernandez, aka “Snack” in the 2019 Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade. This years rolling spectacle launches at noon on Saturday, April 4 from the Custom House Museum.