Taking Flight - CODAworx

Taking Flight

Submitted by Shelley Heffler

Client: private

Location: New York, NY, United States

Completion date: 2024

Artwork budget: $40,000

Project Team


George Billis

George Billis Gallery


Shelley Heffler


Sustainable art Transforming Vinyl Banners into Sculptural Art Pieces
I recently completed a profoundly meaningful project: installing 30 art pieces in a New York office lobby. This significant commission represents a breakthrough in my pursuit of public art, underscoring my persistence and dedication despite previous setbacks.
The artworks for this installation are sculptural, suspended pieces crafted from repurposed vinyl street banners. These materials were chosen to highlight my environmental concerns and explore the remnants we leave behind on this planet. Each piece in this collection is meticulously hand-cut and transformed, disrupting the original advertising images and reshaping them into abstract forms.
The final creations vary in dimensions and are composed of vibrant weavings.. The process involved sorting colors and shapes to form new, cohesive patterns, often resulting in pieces that bear little resemblance to their original state.
This project is personal and deeply significant to me. It not only brings beauty and inspiration to a public space but also promotes awareness and dialogue about environmental issues. I hope that viewers will reflect on their habits and consider the impact of their actions on the environment.


The primary goal of integrating commissioned artwork into this project was to transform the New York office lobby into an engaging and inspiring environment. The artwork aimed to create a dynamic visual experience, elevating the lobby from a simple transit area to a space that stimulates thought and conversation.
The significance of this integration lies in its ability to reflect the company's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. By using repurposed vinyl street banners, the artworks convey a powerful message about environmental consciousness, aligning with the company’s values and mission. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the lobby but also reinforces the company's dedication to sustainability.
From a design perspective, the suspended, sculptural pieces play a crucial role in defining the lobby's visual identity. Their vibrant colors and abstract forms contrast with the typically neutral tones of office environments, adding a refreshing burst of creativity and energy. The integration of these artworks helps create a sense of movement and fluidity in the space, making it more open and inviting.
Overall, the integration of commissioned artwork was essential to the project's success. It provided aesthetic value, conveyed a meaningful message.


The collaboration process for this project was a seamless blend of creativity and teamwork, involving multiple stakeholders to bring the vision to life. While I primarily worked on the project alone, I hired an assistant to help with the fabrication process. Together, we meticulously hand-cut and assembled the repurposed vinyl banners into vibrant, sculptural pieces.
Throughout the project, I frequently consulted with the curator for guidance and feedback. Their expertise helped refine the artistic concepts and provided critical input on how to best integrate the pieces into the space.
Once the artwork was completed and delivered to the site, professional installers took over to hang the pieces according to the collaborative efforts and my direction. Close coordination with the installation team was essential to ensure that each piece was displayed to its best effect, maintaining both structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.
This collaborative effort, involving my assistant, the curator, and the installation team, was instrumental in realizing the project. It ensured a cohesive and impactful installation, transforming the office lobby into an engaging and inspiring environment that promotes environmental awareness and dialogue.

Additional Information

This project holds a special place in my heart, as it symbolizes a significant milestone in my career and a deep personal commitment to environmental sustainability. The use of repurposed vinyl street banners was not just a material choice, but a statement on the importance of rethinking waste and consumption. Each piece tells a story of transformation, challenging viewers to see beauty in the discarded and to reconsider their impact on the environment. Additionally, the installation has fostered a sense of community and conversation within the office space. Employees and visitors alike are drawn to the vibrant, abstract forms, sparking discussions about the themes of consumption and waste. This engagement is precisely what I hoped to achieve: to use art as a catalyst for awareness and change