Longboat Key, Florida | November 20th, 2018 – Living in Sarasota is a celebration of arts and culture, and this you could celebrate on a daily basis particularly in the city’s downtown. Such a delight, which has helped build Sarasota’s reputation as Florida’s Cultural Coast, owes much to the city’s public arts program that surely contributes also to property values in the city.
Under this program, property developers are required to incorporate a piece of art in their project, be it a hotel or a high-rise condominium. The city itself is implementing this program in its own construction projects wherever and whenever possible.
Newest in a Roundabout
The latest art piece that would be added to the city’s landscape started rising this November at the roundabout at North Palm Avenue and Cocoanut Avenue across northeast of the high-rise condominium Marina Tower. This artwork is a colored aluminum abstract sculpture by Jeffrey Laramore titled “Jumping Fish.” It was chosen from among 140 bidders for the $185,000 commission the city offered for the installation.
All in all, there are currently 81 public art pieces set on display around the city’s downtown area. These were either commissioned by the city or by property developers or are on loan to Sarasota. Near the Palm-Cocoanut Avenue roundabout, there are several artworks on display, all of which are sculptures. These include the city collections “The Butterfly Lady,” a bronze creation by sculptor August Moreau (1834-1971); “Exotic 10” by Illinois native and now Sarasota resident David Peirick; and “Enigma,” a piece from Dennis Kowal, also a noted local artist who moved from Chicago.
Sarasota’s Bayfront Icon and More
The most prominent though near the bayfront is “The Unconditional Surrender,” a sculpture that has become closely identified with downtown Sarasota. This 25-foot tall aluminum sculpture is a 2010 work of Seward Johnson and is on a 10-year loan with the city after which it will become city property and permanently part of Sarasota’s public arts program.
More art pieces could be expected to pop up around the downtown area, considering that the city plans to install artworks in every roundabout set for construction or already built, of which there are several. In May this year, the roundabout on Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard has been completed and already open to traffic. Roundabouts are also notably in the pipeline at U.S. 41 on 10th and 14th Streets.
Mural Set in Rosemary’s
Private developers are likewise expected to deliver more public art pieces. The city requires them to contribute up to $250,000 to the public arts program if these developers are unable to produce the artwork themselves for each of their project site, an aggressive approach rarely seen in other places.
One private development worth watching for its public art display is the BOLD Lofts apartment building now under construction at 1659 2nd Street in the Rosemary District north of downtown. In May, the city’s public art committee voted to recommend approval of two proposed murals on this five-story building. These pieces, titled “David” and “Victory,” are inspired by two sculptures currently displayed at the Ringling Museum of Art, according to their proponent artist, Erik Jones.
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