KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Creative recycling, offbeat artistry and lively “people power” are to combine to entertain spectators during the lighthearted Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade.
Designed to intrigue and inspire fans of earth-friendly repurposing and “outsider” art, the annual human-powered parade of colorful mobile sculptures is to meander through Key West’s historic downtown Saturday, May 4. It commemorates the late Key Largo folk artist Stanley Papio, a renegade metal sculptor whose welded creations incorporated elements such as recycled car parts, appliances, pipes and wire.
The family-friendly promenade is scheduled to kick off at noon outside Key West’s Custom House Museum, 281 Front St. Colorful sculptural floats with moving parts, elaborately decorated bicycles and other quirky mobile creations are to proceed along parts of Key West’s Front, Duval and Southard streets. All must be powered by human effort alone.
“People of all backgrounds and all experience levels come together to embrace recycling, embrace our environment and embrace art,” said Michael Gieda, executive director of the Key West Art & Historical Society, which stages the annual event.
Creations in the 2018 procession included a huge red dragon whose scaly skin was made of bubble wrap, a futuristic turquoise rocket, an 8-foot-tall rooster and a multicar “train” recalling the historic Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad.
The 2019 Papio weekend is to begin at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, with a presentation at the Custom House Museum on the art, traditions and history of parading. Admission is free, but registration is required.
Co-produced by Wonderdog Studios, Saturday’s parade is to be followed by an awards ceremony and celebration at Key West’s Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, 21 E. Quay Road, featuring Tony Baltimore & the Wilde Awake. Cash awards await creators of the parade’s best kinetic sculpture floats and art bikes.
The afternoon’s attractions also include a recycled art workshop for kids in the amphitheater’s Kids Zone.
Activities conclude Sunday, May 5, with a free-admission Papio Museum Day at Fort East Martello Museum, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd. Fans of renegade and recycled art can tour the museum’s “Stanley Papio: Junkyard Rebel” exhibit, featuring more than 100 of the late artist’s creations, between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Event information: papiokineticparade.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY