A giant red ball greeted visitors wandering over from the Red River Market on Saturday, Oct. 6. The inflatable ball was squished between the two front pillars of Great Northern Bicycle Co. on 425 Broadway N.
Created by artist Kurt Perschke, the RedBall Project is a colorful, entertaining art installment that has traveled to more than 30 cities around the world, including Chicago, Sydney, Paris, Abu Dhabi and many more. Considered “the world’s longest-running street art work,” the RedBall has been squeezed, squished and suspended on bridges, sculptures, cathedrals, movie theaters, castles, museums and more.
The RedBall arrived in Fargo Oct. 4 and stayed in the area through Oct. 10. The ball was positioned in creative locations throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area, including the Plains Art Museum, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Great Northern Bicycle Co., Lindenwood and Gooseberry parks’ pedestrian bridge, the Depot, the Rourke Art Gallery + Museum and the Fargo Theatre.
“I think it’s a very elegant design,” Pam Block said, who stopped to see the RedBall on Saturday with her friends during the Fargo-Moorhead Visual Artists’ Studio Crawl. “It’s soothing and pleasing to look at.”
Block said she’s inspired by the fact that the ball travels around the world. She thought the RedBall Project was a fun piece of art for both kids and adults to enjoy.
“It seems pretty successful,” she said, gesturing to the crowd lined up to have their pictures taken with the ball, which weighs 250 pounds and is about 15 feet in diameter.
The RedBall’s intriguing shape, large size and eye-popping color causes people to flock to the ball wherever it goes. The ball brings people together across differing cultures, languages, places and ages.
“That invitation to engage, to collectively imagine, is the true essence of the RedBall Project,” Perschke wrote on his website, RedBallProject.com.
Perschke created the ball 17 years ago while working on a project for the St. Louis Arts in Transit program. Its bright red color symbolizes play, energy and love.
He explains the story behind the ball’s inception on his website. When continuously passing by an overpass consisting of a gravel layered ground, he thought of how ugly the area was. Perschke noticed and was “drawn to the way the concrete bridge merged into the earth and the space it created,” he explained online.
After thinking about how to make a creative piece out of this, he had many failure pieces, which led to drawing a giant red circle. This was the moment that sparked the RedBall Project for Perschke.
At the beginning of the RedBall Project’s worldwide travels, some installations were illegally placed. Now, however, Perschke works with local partners to find permissible places for the ball to be featured.
The RedBall was organized by the Fargo Arts and Culture Commission, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau, Insights to Action and Fargo Parks District.
To find out where the RedBall is headed next and see photos of its world travels, visit RedBallProject.com.