Fort Myers artist to transform 9/11 concrete blocks into art

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Huge blocks of concrete that surrounded the original World Trade Center will soon be transformed into forever art.

The blocks of concrete may look ordinary, but local artist Sandra Priest will use them to create a story commemorating the September 11 terrorist attacks.

After 9/11, the pieces were part of a concrete slurry wall that protected downtown Manhattan from the Hudson River. A businessman in New York City had to remove parts of the wall to make room for a new path subway station, but he didn’t want to throw them away.

“The group of folks that saved these decided to do a really good thing,” said Priest. “It’s a very historical thing. It’s never been done before to sculpt slurry wall concrete. You don’t take it out of the ground. You leave it there and build another building on top of it.”

The group found Priest, who has already made pieces of art from Ground Zero concrete. Some of the blocks weight 16,000 pounds each.

Each piece of concrete will have its own purpose, Priest is already planning to transform one into a water fountain.

Her goal is to have them in different parts of the country. She hopes “Project 11 Up” can represent the message of positivity and moving forward.

“The way our world is turned upside down now, we need to be reminded who we are,” said Rick Rogero. “The Trade Center tells us that we need to stand on our feet,” he said. “It’s neat. I think people need to come out and see it.”

Priest hopes residents will check up the blocks of concrete while they remain in Fort Myers. The display is located at 5711 Halifax Ave.