Pensacola Umbrella Sky Project Takes Flight

Posted: Nov 20, 2017 06:54 pm Updated: Oct 17, 2023 10:42 am

In 2012, the Umbrella Sky Project was born in Águeda, Portugal as part of the city’s famous annual ÁgitAgueda Art Festival. Since then, thousands of colorful umbrellas are suspended over a handful of the city’s narrow streets during July, August and September each year—a tantalizing urban art installation that draws people in and provides a canopy of shade for the pedestrians passing through. Since the project began, the colorful pop-up shade structures have gained a cult following around the world. Creators of the Umbrella Sky Project, Sextafeira, have launched offshoots in other cities such as Lisbon, and beyond to France, the UK and Bahrain. 

When the first umbrellas were suspended in Águeda, Portugal, photographer Patricia Almeida captured photos of the city shaded by vibrant umbrellas. Her photos immediately went viral.

On Nov. 3, 2017, Friends of Downtown Pensacola brought Sextafeira and the Umbrella Sky Project to Pensacola, installing hundreds of umbrellas high above historic Intendencia Street between Jefferson and Palafox. The downtown exhibition was made possible by a Foo Foo Fest grant from Arts, Culture and Entertainment, Inc.

The Sextafeira design team arrived at the end of October to construct the structure, creating a lively canopy of umbrellas above the street to make it appear as if they are floating in mid-air. The vibrant exhibition attracted tens of thousands of people to Downtown Pensacola! #PensacolaUmbrellaSky.