Jan 25, 2024 - News

Immersive "Bait Ball" exhibit rolls into St. Pete Fairgrounds

The view from inside the Bait Ball exhibit

The view from inside the Bait Ball exhibit. Photo: Courtesy of Press Marketing

What do fish and rock concertgoers have in common? They travel in the same circles.

What's happening: That's the concept behind artist Devon Brady's "Bait Ball," an interactive exhibit now housed at the Fairgrounds St. Pete.

  • Brady told Axios he was inspired by the circular motion made by schools of fish, flocks of birds and people in mosh pits.

How it works: The 8-foot-tall exhibit uses 3D printing, light, motion and soundscapes to mimic the underwater phenomenon with models of the Florida mullet fish.

  • "There's an 'aha' moment that happens for the viewer," Brady said. "They enter into the environment and think they know what it is, but then it changes and changes again."

Behind the art: Brady is a firefighter and paramedic for Hillsborough County, as well as a musician.

  • After getting a degree in sculpture and photography from the University of South Florida in the mid-90s, he worked in theatrical design making sets and props for theme parks.
  • After 9/11, he went back to school to become a firefighter and has been with the county since 2004.

What he's saying: "It's a really nice symbiotic relationship. Artists by nature are looking to affect some kind of change in the world … It can be difficult to find the space and time and funding to pull off large-scale projects, and then we're always questioning if it's landing with the audience.

  • "This way, I can go in the studio and fiddle around. If things don't go so well or I don't get my point across, I can know that yesterday I did something impactful."
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