Thought Clouds

Proposal to Fort Point Arts Community


The Fort Point Channel has held the promise of a better life for generations. From the earliest sailors seeking wealth and adventure in colonial times, to the first of several waves of artists hoping to create a place for themselves in the 1980’s, to even today, where developers are building glass towers at a breakneck pace in the newly-minted “Innovation District.” The future of the neighborhood is still an open question, as many longtime residents, private enterprises, and the government each have competing visions. Some want more civic spaces and community-oriented businesses, others want existing and new industries to take center stage as the district grows, and some see the Fort Point Channel itself as the gateway to an entirely new neighborhood in the future. 

And yet, as demonstrated throughout its history, the district has been a nexus point for creative thought. For imagining what could be, and in many ways, for making those visions a reality. 


The proposed temporary art installation “Thought Cloud” builds on the notion of Fort Point as a place where people dream big and work toward actualizing their ideas. The idiom “to have one’s head in the clouds but feet on the ground” is an ideal summary for the proposed work: a voluminous series of three clouds that rest on the water’s surface. Unmoving and just out of reach, the objects are symbolic many of the hopes and dreams of those from the past, present, and future. 

There has been heated debate at all levels about the future of the neighborhood. The proposed Thought Clouds is meant to represent all of the ideas equally, without value or judgement. New ideas come and go, but the act of imagining is timeless. In this way, the hope for the work is to spawn new ideas and viewpoints and to encourage creative thought.


The installation site has a number of challenges, including its location on a large expanse of water between two bridges and the physical conditions present such as strong tides and winds. Without proper consideration, planning, and fabrication the floating artwork could still be at best overlooked, or sink completely, in the literal sense.

Despite obstacles, there are a number of opportunities the right temporary art installation could capitalize on. The adjacent Children’s Museum and Tea Party Ships and Museum are bustling with activity during the day and early evening, commuters by the hundreds transverse the bridge twice daily, and the restaurants and bars of Fort Point bring a late night crowd.


The Thought Clouds installation is meant to address each of these groups, as well as be a beacon for both Fort Point and its Open Studios in October.  The sculpture would be constructed of non-traditional materials: large, inflated exercise balls bound together with cling wrap and covered by shrink film (none for its use in weatherizing boats). LED strips would be interspersed throughout and powered via a land-based source. Anchored lines would keep the three individual pieces in places, on the Fort Point side of channel and viewable from all sides.

Light and cheery, the sculpture will attract children and families from the nearby Museums during the daytime. Young commuters (many of them in the tech and creative industries) may find the installation modern and spare, a bold, bright counterpoint to tradition. Those visiting the coolest new neighborhood restaurants, clubs, and even nearby pop-up places like the Lawn on D and Greenway wouldn’t want to miss the action. Glowing at night along the busy channel, the voluminous and effervescent Thought Clouds would be a beacon for all.