Giant 'Earthwork' portrait of astronaut Stephanie Wilson debuts in Atlanta

Stephanie Wilson's portrait in a giant "Earthwork" in Atlanta, Georgia. (Image credit: Stan Herd Arts)

Astronaut Stephanie Wilson can be seen 4,800 square feet (446 square meters) tall in a new "Earthwork" portrait in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The portrait of Wilson, which was installed on Oct. 11, celebrates the United Nations' International Day of the Girl Child and World Space Week and was created as part of a project called Aim Higher. The "Earthwork" is a piece of eco-friendly artwork created by "crop artist" Stan Herd out of grass in an open field in Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta and it depicts Wilson in her astronaut helmet. The Earthwork was framed by about 1,500 "tiles" of space art made by children from fourteen public schools and three children's hospitals in Atlanta. 

The Earthwork aims "to inspire women and girls, and especially people of color, to “aim higher” as they pursue their dreams," a release states. The release adds that this initiative aims to "raise awareness about NASA's Artemis program and inspire women and girls." The Earthwork will be visible until Oct. 22 for all looking to catch a glimpse of the larger-than-life portrait.

Related: Sian Proctor makes history as first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot

Wilson, one of only seven Black women astronauts in history, is a veteran of three space shuttle spaceflights: STS-121, STS-120 and STS-131. With over 42 days in space accumulated, Wilson is now serving as part of the backup crew for SpaceX's upcoming Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (set to launch Oct. 3 for a six-month mission).

"The opportunity to look at things from new perspectives opens us up to the awe and wonder that surrounds us every day, and has the power to inspire us to dream big," NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, who is also the founding director of the Space for Art Foundation, said about the Earthwork installation, according to the statement. 

"For me personally, and on behalf of the Space for Art Foundation, we are excited to participate in the Aim Higher events in Atlanta for WorldSpace Week & International Day of the Girl. The focal art piece Earthwork definitely opens up new perspectives. It will allow us to look back to Earth from above at the portrait of an inspirational Earthling and astronaut, to zoom into the frame of colorful tiles created by children in hospitals and schools who are sharing their dreams of space through their artwork, and to remind us to always look up and aim higher," Stott added.

This project was brought to life by Christina Korp, founder of the media company Purpose Entertainment who is a former "astronaut wrangler" who managed Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The Earthwork project was created in collaboration with Stan Herd Artworks, the Space for Art Foundation, Atlanta Parks and Recreation, Downtown Atlanta, the Hines Family Foundation, Georgia Tech, Morehouse College and the Georgia Space Grant Consortium. 

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.