Updated at 12:55 p.m. Oct. 21

This July, an art installation resembling a pink flying saucer materialized at Boston’s LoPresti Park. "Beam Me Down" sits at the edge of the waterfront, along the rocks that border the harbor, appearing to have crash-landed there.

"It's more about presenting questions than answers," artist Eli Brown said of the public art display.

Brown is one of five local artists chosen for this year's Now + There Public Art Accelerator. Now + There is a Boston-area nonprofit “committed to fostering artists who break down biases and shed light on often-overlooked people and issues.” Its Public Art Accelerator, launched in 2018, is an annual program offering training alongside monetary and professional support for its cohort of local creators.

Watch Eli Brown discuss 'Beam Me Down'

Brown received his master of fine arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. His work has been featured in cities of Tampa and Philadelphia, as well as back here in Massachusetts with past public art displays at Boston's Distillery Gallery and the New Bedford Art Museum.

East Boston, where "Beam Me Down" is located, is a precarious spot for a work of art considering the risk of coastal flooding, but that’s exactly the point Brown hopes to make.

With climate change being a key source of anxiety among young adults, and a growing concern among voters, Brown hopes that their sculpture — which is currently surviving the elements and the lapping waves — will be a source of hope.

“I wanted to challenge this idea that we’re all doomed," they said. "I really wanted to address that and give this object that maybe brought some joy and maybe wonder.”

'Beam Me Down'
A pink UFO is seen on East Boston's Lopresti Park. It spans the widht of the photo and has yellow portholes each harboring a different tidal animal.
Jacob Garcia GBH News

To give people a sense of hope about the future, Brown looks to the past.

Each of the sculpture’s small, round windows shows different tidal animals such as barnacles, sea snails, oysters and bay scallops. Brown was inspired by the longevity of the featured species, many of which have survived for hundreds of millions of years. He said humans should “try to learn something from species who are most likely going to outlast us.”

In addition to the endurance that these tidal animals signify, they also resonate with Brown on a more personal level. As a transgender person, Brown has an affinity with these tidal animals because they also have multiple genders or switch between genders. Brown, who is also an avid farmer, elaborates that the biology of animals and plants was something he wasn’t taught in school: "It’s information that’s been kept from us. Especially as someone who has been caring for plants and taking care of them, it just felt like, ‘Oh yeah, of course this is not just a human phenomenon.'”

Brown is excited to have "Beam Me Down" serve as a way to share that knowledge and validate the trans experience.

Eli Brown's installation "Beam Me Down" in Lopresti Park, East Boston.
Eli Brown's installation "Beam Me Down" in Lopresti Park, East Boston.
Caitlin Cunningham Photography LLC. Courtesy of the artist

The sculpture was created alongside a comic book that Brown made in collaboration with almost 90 students at Boston’s Sam Adams Elementary School. Images from the comic book, all drawn by the students, are accessible to viewers via a QR code embedded throughout the exhibition.

Brown says that while he provided some prompts for inspiration, the children “did some pretty interesting work on their own. It’s the best part of the show.”

"Beam Me Down" on view at LoPresti Park through January 2023.

Eli Brown 'Beam Me Down' Comic Book
A black and white comic book illustration of a child biking in the foreground. A small hill is seen behind the child. The hill harbors a large shell. The moon is seen clearly above the hill.
Eli Brown Courtesy of the artist

Correction: This story was updated to correct the location of LoPresti Park. It is in East Boston, not the Seaport. We regret the error.