In 1994, the City of West Palm agreed with the family of Henry Rolfs, Sr. to honor his contribution to the City with a sculpture in the median of Okeechobee Blvd. Artist Marsha Montoya Meyer made the statue that welcomes visitors to West Palm at the intersection of Tamarind/Parker and Okeechobee.
Mr. Rolfs and his partner David Paladino were responsible for consolidating all the 77 acres that eventually became City Place, the Kravis Center and the Convention Center. Without their visionary purchases, it is very unlikely that City Place would exist. Unfortunately for Rolfs and Paladino, the economic downturns of the late 1980s and early 1990s ruined their opportunity to complete their vision and the land was acquired by the City.
In our community discussions on public art, we learned that most people don’t know anything about the sculpture. If they have thought about it, then most assume it is second memorial to Henry Flagler. Part of the reason for the lack of knowledge is that sculpture is undersized for the site and almost no pedestrians cross at this location to learn about Mr. Rolfs.
Given the contribution of Mr. Rolfs, the sculpture seems better located near or in City Place. Pedestrian could enjoy the artwork and read information about Mr. Rolfs’ life and activities in West Palm.
What do you think? Should the sculpture be moved or remain in place?
Twice in our community dialogues, West Palm Beach residents reminded the groups of the 2009 idea by former Mayor Lois Frankel to commission a troll sculpture under the Royal Palm Bridge. Idiosyncratic projects like a troll can be very popular. Many of the famous sculptures, such as the Statue of Liberty, were considered very strange until the sculptures earned a positive reputation.
The most famous troll is in Seattle under the Aurora Bridge. The Fremont Troll was created by Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter & Ross Whitehead in 1990.
Of course other trolls exist…………………..
Comment: Love the idea of a mythical creature under the bridge, but don’t find a troll particularly appropriate to West Palm Beach. Both Denmark, and Seattle have misty woodlands, environments that might be imagined habitats to trolls. Perhaps if the community decides to have something under the bridge, a giant sea dragon, the old man of the sea,Neptune, a wistful seated mermaid, and a merman emerging from the water, or some such might be good options.
Perhaps you could have a contest to get residents involved in what it should be.
Great civic symbols are frequently on the water’s edge or in the water itself. Statue of Liberty. Sydney Opera House. Jefferson Memorial. And lighthouses, temples and recently big ferris wheels.
The success of any great symbol from the water is its ability to visually stand-out and anchor the vista of the city or waterfront. It must succeed in the day and night. And must be special to visit, not just look at.
Sculptures on the water have worked to make icons for the city, but not that many.
The City might consider at the end of the Evernia Street Pier.
Two prominent Los Angeles based artists, both in the NYC Museum of Modern Art collection, have designed very large murals in downtown West Palm Beach.
In 2014, RAM Reality commissioned Tristan Easton to interpret the history of Bell Telephone in a 7,000 SF mural on the Alexander Lofts. The former Southern Bell Telephone building at 326 Fern Street is being converted to studio lofts. Casey Cummings, CEO of RAM, has served on the boards of the New World Symphony and Martin County Public Art Advisory Board.
In 2006, Wasserman Real Estate Capital commissioned Jorge Pardo to design a 40,000 mural covering all sides of a warehouse located two blocks south of Okeechobee Blvd between Clare and Parker. Wasserman commissioned the mural to bring attention to its sales office for 550Q Condo that was never built due to the crash.
One of the major efforts of the Art in Public Places Master Plan is to develop guidelines for the integration of public art with the condos and office buildings. Any new development that spends more that $500,000 on direct construction costs must spend 1% of the construction costs on public art. If the owner does not wish public art, then the owner can contribute the 1% to the Art in Public Places fund. From this fund, the City’s Art in Public Places Committee will select art projects throughout the city.
Here are some the very large projects that may include public art in the next few years. At this time, the owners have not told the City if they are planning public art or paying the in lieu of fee to the Art in Public Places fund.
NOTE: THE IMAGES ARE JUST PROPOSALS. NONE OF THESE HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE CITY.
Even the Norton Museum of Art will be required to provide outdoor public art that can be seen from the street.
In the Norton image notice that sun will reflect the water pattern from the pool onto the roof and walls. To learn more, read the interview with architect Sir Norman Foster that he gave in Miami in December 2014.
In 2009, the AiPP program commissioned the largest sculpture in the history of West Palm Beach. The stainless steel and glass sculpture rises 25 feet in Gateway Park between the Australia Avenue and the Marriott.
Seattle based artist Ulrich Pakker has created large sculptures and fountains in Washington State, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Florida. In 2013, he was an UNESCO Art Award Recipient for “Breaking Earth’s Bond” at the research center of NASA’s Saturn and Apollo missions in Huntsville, Alabama. Pakker was born in 1951 in Germany. More information at http://ulrichpakker.com/curriculum-vitae/
Two artists in competition for West Palm’s most popular artist: environmental artist Michael Singer and muralist Eduardo Mendieta. I think that Singer has the lead with two works at the Palm Beach Courthouse, the Downtown Waterfront promenade and piers, the new Intracoastal mangrove islands, the Commons Park fountains and shade structures and Howard Park landscape. In the next couple of years, his shoreline mango planters will appear in the Intracoastal and his design elements for the energy regeneration facility on the edge of Fresh Waters. His design for the wall between Howard Park and the Convention Center is still possible.
Michael Singer maintains design studios in Delray Beach and Burlington, Vermont. His associate, Jason Bregman, participated in the Public Art Think Tank for West Palm Beach in December.
Idea: Public artwork at the WPB train station interpreting the first act of Gershwin’s 1925 musical “Tip Toes”
Idea: Public artwork about African American life in the 1920s based on Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” that he wrote in Palm Beach during 1935.
As early as 1925, George Gershwin’s visits to Florida, and the public’s fascination with the state’s real estate boom, inspired his Broadway musical Tip-Toes, set in Palm Beach. Gershwin spent the winter of 1933 at a Palm Beach home on South Ocean Boulevard that oil tycoon Emil Mosbacher had rented with his wife and three children. It was there that Gershwin wrote variations on I Got Rhythm. And in 1935, after studying black culture in Charleston, S.C., he returned to the island to write much of the groundbreaking opera Porgy and
“Palm Beach is once more itself after a few days of cold weather,” the Gershwin wrote. “I’m sitting in the patio of the charming house Emil has rented, writing to you after orchestrating for a few hours this morning . . . it goes slowly, there being millions of notes to write.”
ACT ONE: ” TIP TOES” — At the train station in West Palm Beach, flirtatious Rollo Fish Metcalf is surprised to see his socialite wife, Sylvia, planning to give a party for her millionaire brother, Steve. Steve is set to inherit the family glue factory. Rollo agrees to wait for vaudevillian entertainers, the “Komical Kayes” (Tip-Toes Kaye (a woman), Al Kaye and Uncle Hen Kaye). The Kayes are so poor that Tip-Toes had to travel in the luggage to avoid paying for a ticket. They stay in Palm Beach to see if they can find a millionaire for Tip-Toes to marry.
Eduardo Mendieta‘s mural at 534 West Clematis Street still looks good after a year. If you are at the Subculture Coffee or just walking downtown, look through the bushes and enjoy the work. Located on the southside of Clematis between Rosemary and the railroad tracks.