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8-legged sculpture going up in Branson

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When plans for Aquarium at the Boardwalk were unveiled two years ago, one of the most striking features was a large octopus that appeared in renderings along Branson’s 76 Strip. Starting yesterday, that artistic vision is becoming a reality.

Crews with Denver-based art fabrication studio Demiurge LLC began installing the sculpture, which stands 55 feet tall and weighs 34 tons, according to a news release. The sculpture, dubbed Giant Pacific Octopus, is one of the centerpiece visual elements of the aquarium, a $51 million project from Los Angeles-based developer Kuvera Partners that's slated to open by year’s end.

“The most challenging part of this project was ensuring that the sculpture remains a true piece of art, regardless of its tremendous scale,” said Joe Riche, owner and founder of Demiurge, in the release. “It demanded a strong collaborative approach between the teams. We spent lots of brain time making sure the artistic factor didn’t get lost in the overall size."

Demiurge built the art piece in Colorado before shipping it to Branson via 27 flatbed freight trucks. It's built of stainless steel and painted carbon steel.

The octopus sculpture is slated to be put together at Aquarium at the Boardwalk over the next six weeks, according to the release.

Kuvera Partners last month announced the updated plan of opening the aquarium in November. Art at the aquarium also includes a 76-feet-wide by 36-feet-tall mural by artist John Pugh.

Crossland Construction Co. Inc. started construction on the 46,000-square-foot aquarium early last year. The aquarium is the first attraction by Kuvera Partners for a development called Branson Boardwalk, located at the site of the former Grand Palace. The aquarium project is in line for $7 million in tax increment financing assistance over 15-23 years, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

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