Kudos to sculptor Janet Echelman , who received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts at a ceremony the other night in D.C. The former Harvard professor who has a studio in Brookline was hailed as “a visionary in the field of public space” by Michael Caruso, Smithsonian magazine’s editor in chief. Echelman’s recent work includes a sculpture at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s headquarters in Seattle and a 745-foot aerial sculpture that premiered at this year’s TED Conference in Vancouver. Next up is a monumental aerial sculpture on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. To be unveiled next spring, the installation of knotted fiber will be suspended hundreds of feet over the central section of the Greenway. Others with local ties honored were Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu of MIT, who received the Natural Sciences Award for discoveries about how memories form, and Huge Herr, winner of the Technology Award for developing a highly functional bionic leg at MIT Media Lab for a dancer wounded in the Boston Marathon bombings.