Key West has long been known for its kinetic (motion) energy, but on May 6 from noon to 1 p.m., it becomes literal when the second annual Papio Kinetic Sculpture Parade rolls through downtown Key West with a cavalcade of art-inspired, human-powered, mobile sculptures and art bikes.
Last year, more than 30 kinetic creations formed a parade of human-powered works of art that traversed the length Duval Street for the inaugural parade. Entries included a super-sized narwhal that winked at spectators, a pelican whose widespread wings flapped as it towed “parasailing” minnows, a 15-foot silver “time machine” made of moving gears and cogs, and an eagle ray powered by three bicycling men dressed as remoras.
The parade kicks off in front of the Custom House Museum, 281 Front St., and proceeds down Duval Street to the Southernmost Beach Cafe, 1405 Duval, followed by a party at the Southernmost.
Along with the parade, there are several accompanying events including a 6 p.m. May 5 presentation by Baltimore kinetic expert Frank Conlan at the Custom House Museum, followed by a porch party; and a May 7 Kinetic Kids & Papio Picnic Day at the Fort East Martello, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd., from 11:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. with free museum entry, a Papio exhibit tour at noon and an afternoon of revelry for families inside the citadel grounds.
The parade is the work of the Key West Art and Historical Society, along with several other organizations and Key West schools.
Who was Papio?
The late Stanley Papio, originally, a welder, transformed a collection of metal piled high in his yard in Key Largo into sculpted works, many of them comical and caustic commentary on neighbors and naysayers who wanted him to abide by zoning laws.
While none of Papio’s sculptures were made to be mobile, the parade is a nod to his legacy and collection of work and a wink to the outsider spirit in us all.
When Papio died in 1982, the Art and Historical Society acquired his collection— more than 100 sculptural objects and three-dimensional constructions that now live permanently in the Fort East Martello.