Floating art in Massachusetts raises awareness to refugee crisis

The orange swimmers aren't the only public art in the area

BOSTON (CNN) – Some people find it strange: a piece of art, displaying a group of orange people floating in the water. It’s one of several exhibits on display in Boston, raising awareness to a variety of issues. It’s definitely a conversation starter.

Twenty-two bright-orange figures hugging inner tubes, bobbing in fort point channel.

“But it’s interesting. It’s sort of thought provoking.”

“I was a little confused. I’m still pretty confused.”

“They look real, which is a little scary.”

Emily O’Neil, of fort point arts community said, “This project is called S.O.S. safety orange swimmers. It’s by two local artists, an Hirsch and Jeremy Angier.”

“I see people struggling to stay afloat. Maybe that’s the message that the artist is trying to send.”

The artists say the sculpture is meant to remind us of the immigrant history of America and Boston and to bring us into today, with the refugee crisis facing the world. Emily O’Neil is the director of the fort point arts community.

O’Neil said, “Each figure is representative of one million refugees worldwide.”

The orange swimmers aren’t the only public art in the area. This is “shimmer”:” bringing color to the congress street bridge, reflecting on the water and on the sidewalk.

“Instead of the bridge just being a bridge, it’s now a really vibrant, beautiful object” said O’Neil.

There’s also the floating pyramid and ‘double trouble,’ cascading water bottles splashing down in the basin.

All this work is in the open, but this weekend, fort point artists invite us all inside for open studios.

O’Neil said, “Performance art. We have ceramists. We have photographers. We have sculptors. We have painters. We really hope people just have a broad conversation about the role of art in everyday life.”