Devil Whirls, a sculpture by New York-based artist Alice Aycock, will be on site in conjunction with the 400-year anniversary of the city of Borås on June 29. The sculpture calls to mind nature, the movement of the wind, and the dynamic playfulness of dance.

There are many ways to build a city: it can be designed as a knowledge center with universities and colleges, a cluster of know-how within a specific industry. It can incorporate exciting architecture that is both inclusive and welcoming. It can embrace the desire to create an environment that residents enjoy and in which they feel they can grow, where schools and health care are accessible to all. Or, as is the case with the gift for our 400-year-old city: it can be furnished with public art, which strengthens the city’s self-confidence.

Because that is indeed what public art does: it brings a sense of weightiness to a city, and puts it on the map. Just look at what the Guggenheim Museum did for the industrial city of Bilbao. Ever since it opened, Bilbao has enjoyed a constant stream of new visitors. Visitors who are there not first and foremost to see the city’s iron and steel industry, but to enjoy the art and the world-renowned architecture of the Guggenheim. The building is otherwise clad in titanium plates, so yes – even today’s visitors seem to have some degree of interest in metal! 

Something has happened here in Borås since the first Sculpture Biennial opened in 2008. Perhaps we have become more used to seeing art around us, as we hurry across Stora Torget or pass by the university. On every other building, we have the opportunity to enjoy street art by world-class artists, imagery that makes these public spaces one big outdoor gallery. Art is accessible to all. 

The city’s self-confidence grows. One thing leads to the next: knowledge attracts companies, companies attract people. People are attracted by culture and culture generates creativity, while creativity leads to companies. We could keep going on this way – what we are trying to say is that this is how we contribute to a stronger, bolder Borås; it is our way of contributing to the construction of a city that is taking enormous strides into the future.

Happy birthday and congratulations, Borås – here is to the next 400 years!

Devil Whirls is a donation from Joakim Hedin, Paul Frankenius and Sparbanksstiftelsen Sjuhärad.