SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers)

Harbour Square Park, Toronto, Canada, 2019
Fort Point Channel Art Basin, Boston MA, 2016
ArtPrize9 Featured Project, Grand Rapids, MI, 2017
Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier, A+J Art+Design

Selected by jury and commissioned by Boston’s Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) for the 12th annual Floating Public Art project, SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) was installed in Boston Harbor during the fall of 2016. The installation instantly engaged the public with 22 bright orange figures floating in a dynamically changing group. Animated by wind and currents, the attention grabbing display caused passers-by to stop, look and consider. The year SOS debuted, each figure represented nearly one million of the estimated 21.3 million refugees worldwide who face peril seeking safety and freedom. SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) sparked conversation in national media, on local television and around the blogosphere. Members of the public posted hundreds of pictures online using #SOSswimmers, and the installation garnered countless mentions across social media. FPAC calls SOS its “most successful project to date in terms of audience engagement.”

SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) was recognized by the Americans for the Arts 2017 Public Art Network (PAN) 2017 Year in Review program as an outstanding public art project. Chosen by jury from 325 entries, the 49 selected projects represent the most compelling work from across the country. PAN is the only national program that specifically recognizes significant achievements in public art, and it is the only professional network dedicated to advancing public art in the US.

Chosen as the ArtPrize® Nine Featured Public Project: Grand River, in the fall of 2017 SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) floated in the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ArtPrize is a 19-day international art competition which attracts over half a million visitors to Grand Rapids each year, making it the most attended public art event in the world. SOS was voted a Top 20 Finalist and described by ArtPrize9 organizers as “one of the iconic images of ArtPrize 9.”

Waterfront Toronto commissioned A+J Art+Design to bring SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) to Canada for exhibition in Lake Ontario in downtown Toronto  in 2019. The installation was Waterfront Toronto’s first temporary public art installation. The project fostered discussion both on site and in the news and social media, where it garner almost 400 Instagram posts during its 2 month exhibition. Three figures were added to the configuration to reflect the rise on the global refugee population.

A+J Art+Design is a multidisciplinary collaboration between artists Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier. We share a commitment to site specificity, interactivity and community engagement. The team is ready to install SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) in urban waterways for durations of up to two months. The artwork can be anchored in place or attached to a rigid support. Installation plans are engineer-certified and materials meet or exceed Federal specifications.

#sosswimmers #SOSToronto

SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) project website.
Instagram: @SOSswimmers  #sosswimmers #SOSToronto

Twitter: @SOSswimmersFPAC


Toronto Star, 7.17.19;  TwentyTwentyArts, 7.30.2019;  WZZM13 with Noah Fromson, 10.3.17; Cultured. GR with Kevin Buist, 9.18.17; WoodTV8 (interview), 9.26.17; WZZM13 with Rose White, 9.19.17; Detroit Free Press, (interview), 9.17.17;  Public Health Post with Maggie Thomas, 3.14.17; The ARTery, WBUR, 1.12.17; The Boston Globe with Leanne Burden Seidel, 11.23.16; Boston College Heights with William Batchelor, 11.2.16; The Boston Globe with David L. Ryan, 11.2.16; The ARTery, WBUR with Greg Cook, 10.24.16; CBS local with Liam Martin, 10.11.16; CNN with Amanda Jackson, 10.13.16; NECN with Abby Niezgoda, 10.11.16; The Boston Globe with David L. Ryan, 10.13.16; Universal Hub with Adam Gaffin, 10.10.16; Boston Magazine with Spencer Buell, 9.10.16.

Media and dimensions: 60 feet by 30 feet, dimensions variable, 25 cast polyurethane foam figures, PVC conduit, anchoring system, and buoy paint.
Collection/Commission: Fort Point Arts Community