Hummingbirds invited to Lippitt Park

Friday's opening celebration of The Hummingbird Palace, Providence.

There is a new piece of sculpture in Lippitt Park that is just asking for birds to perch on it.

It is “The Hummingbird Palace, Providence,” by artist Esther Solondz, and was officially opened Friday, June 27, at a wine-and-strawberries celebration attended by dozens of people.

The plaque posted as part of the exhibit reads, in part, that it is “to evolve over time. Flowering vines will grow through the structure while simultaneously attracting hummingbirds.” It asks observers to “Please post images of hummingbirds you see! www.thehummingbirdpalace.com

The piece’s mission statement says it “is a public sculpture that whose primary purpose is to engage viewers in Lippitt Park. It has the mission of attracting hummingbirds and raising awareness of hummingbirds and their habitats.”

Its web site says it “begins with an ethereal structure made primarily of thin welded steel rod, translucent threadline, epoxy putty, clear silicon rubber and urethane.  Its appearance is that of a sugar structure covered with web-like drips.  The size of the structure is 15 feet high. It is enclosed in a boundary fence that is connected with the piece by silicon threadline for visual and safety purposes.”

At Friday’s opening, Solondz said “a couple of people helped finance” the project and “the city allowed me to do it.” She added that the plantings include honeysuckle and morning glory, which attract hummingbirds, “but they just have to get here.”

Initially the flowers will be watered by a mobile tank rolled into the park, she said, but “after that nature takes over.”  The artist is also seeking volunteers, especially students and seniors, to help with the maintenance of the plants and feeders as a community project.

Ultimately, the piece is designed to address “the issues of fragile systems and how they might interact with one another.” One viewer on Friday said, “it really sparkles, it’s truly gossamer-like.”

Artist Esther Solondz and her creation.

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