New sculpture Mississippi River

In 2015, the Baton Rouge Rotary Club commissioned San Francisco-based artist Po Shu Wang to create a sculpture that will sit on the levee near the intersection of Florida Street and River Road. 

River Road at Florida Street will be closed starting at 6 a.m. Friday to allow the installation of a sculpture on the Mississippi Riverfront. The street will reopen at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Rotary Club of Baton Rouge donated the 14-foot spherical sculpture in honor of its 100th anniversary. The organization selected the design from San Francisco based-artist Po Shu Wang in 2015.

The sculpture features three stainless steel reflective spheres nestled in each other. It will be lifted over the railroad tracks and placed on a platform recently constructed on top of the Mississippi River levee.

The lifting machinery will occupy the intersection of Florida Street and River Road, causing a full road closure.

The art was designed to be interactive with visitors and the flow of the Mississippi River. A sensor will be placed in the river measuring its speed and water level, then software will convert the data to sound frequencies, allowing the river to “sing.” Visitors will be able to “sing” back to the river, by either speaking into one of the spheres or pressing buttons. 

The sculpture will be illuminated by LED lights at night. 

Wang was selected after a search that started in the beginning of 2015. About 150 entries were submitted, and that number was gradually whittled to three finalists. The three finalists were later flown to Baton Rouge, where they could see how the Mississippi River interacted with the site.

The sculpture was set to be installed last year, but it's been sitting in storage because of the river's high water levels.

Rotary officials said they raised about $350,000 to fund the sculpture. 

Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater