Towering over Phoenix’s Civic Space Park is a suspended, monumental web of light and color, arguably best viewed by night. The enormous piece of public art is titled Her Secret is Patience, and makes a striking impression, whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the hundredth. Today, we explore the work and artistry behind one of Phoenix’s most notable pieces of public art, Her Secret is Patience.
Completed in 2009, the monumental installation was the vision by artist and sculptor Janet Echelman in collaboration with global, award-winning teams of engineers, architects, planners and fabricators. The multi-layered form is secured from five points, suspending 38 feet from the ground. Echelman credits inspiration to the surrounding nature, from Arizona’s distinctive monsoon cloud formations to saguaro flowers.
The sculpture consists of painted, galvanized steel, polyester twine netting and colored lights that change gradually with the seasons, transforming to cool hues in the summer and warmer in the winter. The specialized lighting gives off a unique glow, creating an otherworldly sense of whimsy in the middle of Phoenix. During the day, the structure casts intricate shadows from the Arizona sun. The creative team and work itself have garnered a handful of awards for their inventive process and impactful impression on the Phoenix art scene.
Like our own work in Arizona, Her Secret is Patience takes cues from nature to create something extraordinary. Its name even stems from the same source; Ralph Waldo Emerson’s full quote reads, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”