Patricia Johanson,
Fair Park Lagoon, 1981
Located in Dallas Texas, commissioned in 1981 to restore Fair Park’s badly degraded Leonhardt Lagoon. To solve the problems of an eroded shoreline, murky water and algal bloom, Johanson devised large sculptural forms that broke up wave action and selected indigenous plantings as microhabitats for wildlife. The gigantic, terra cotta-colored gunite sculptures, which doubled as pathways for human visitors and perches for birds and turtles, take the form of a Delta Duck-potato (Sagittaria platyphylla) and a Spider Brake Fern (Pteris multifida). Today Leonhardt Lagoon is a functioning ecosystem in the heart of Dallas, where it also serves as a place of education and recreation. This is one of the earliest examples of art as bioremediation. Johanson works with a variety of scientists, engineers, and city planners, as well as local citizen groups.