Tag Archives: gateways

Public Art Survey Results

For IBI Group, consulting art researcher Surale Phillips completed the public art survey for the master plan in February.  689 people completed the online public art survey for the City of West Palm Beach.   Phillips used the result from the 406 people who self-declared themselves residents of West Palm Beach,  but the results are nearly the same with employees and visitors included.

Pleas view the slideshow that was presented at the March, 2015, Art in Public Places Committee meeting.   Please remember that the survey is not “scientific” as people volunteered for the survey and in this case, 90% really enjoy art.

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From the survey, we constructed a draft mission statement and goals related to expressed priorities.

The Art in Public Places program should beautify the city through timeless, beautiful and meaningful sculptures, gardens and murals in parks, downtown, waterfront and entrances to the city.

The future artworks should inspire creativity, bring delight to everyday spaces, support local artists, promote pride, attract and entertain tourists to our city, and reflect the city’s many cultures and lifestyles.

When appropriate, the art should be fun and colorful and  artists should improve blank walls, vacant lots and plazas





The survey both reflects and deviates from national opinions.  Parks, downtowns and entrances are frequently preferred locations and beauty the goal.  The lack of interest for artworks in neighborhoods or that reinforce neighborhood identity is unusual.  Vacant lots, blank walls and supporting local artists are higher than normal.

Generally, people understand public art as sculptures, murals and functional artworks, but gardens are higher than normal.   Street art, changing art and interactive artwork are newer ideas that have support.


The public art surveys produces some challenges to the program.

1.  Work that is beautiful and meaningful, but not traditional modern art nor representational art.

2.  Work that is excellent, innovative and attracts tourists, but not necessarily made by artists of international renown.

3.  Work made by local artists from a range cultural backgrounds, but without a priority to benefit local neighborhoods.

Idea: Move Henry Rolfs Sculpture

Henry Rolfs Statue

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.

Land Purchased by Rolfs and Paladino
Land Purchased by Rolfs and Paladino

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.

Henry Rolfs, Sr. by Marsha Montoya Meyer
Henry Rolfs, Sr. by Marsha Montoya Meyer

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?

Existing and Possible New Locations
Current Location
Rosemary and Okeechobee




Gateway Update: Zoo adds Sign

Although not an official “Welcome to West Palm Beach” sign, the new  “ZOO” sign at the Palm Beach Zoo tower adds to the city’s entrance on Summit Blvd. Zoo SignPart of the Public Art Master Plan will recognize some signs as important elements of the city and its history.  For example the Hall Hardware “hammer” on South Dixie.

Halls Hardware
Halls Hardware

It may be possible to re-make great historic signs from the City’s past.

Ketter Theater Sign
Ketter Theater Sign

More Information Here




Seeking Gateways Locations into the City

In the CIP budget of the City, the Commission has budgeted $50,000 for entry markers or welcome signs into the City.  The Mayor asked IBI Group to examine how the public art program might contribute to the new entry features.  On Friday, February 13, Sybille Welter, AiPP Coordinator, Brian Collins, City Traffic Engineer, and Glenn Weiss, IBI Group, visited many possible sites.  Below are some the existing welcome signs.

Australian north of Beledere from the Airport
Australian north of Belvedere from the Airport
Australian to the south of 45th and Mangolia Park
Australian to the south of N. 45th and Mangonia Park
Forest Hills Street to the east of I-95
Forest Hills Blvd to the east of I-95
Summit Street to the east of I-95
Dreher and WBP Sign at Summit Blvd to the east of I-95

Click Pictures to see more detail of possible gateway locations.


Potential Gateway Locations

Click Slideshow Link to See Images of 11 Possible Gateway Locations

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Arrived by artist Ulrich Pakker in Gateway Park

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.

Ulrich Pakker
Ulrich Pakker

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/

Arrived by Ulrich Pakker
Arrived by Ulrich Pakker
Arrived by Ulrich Pakker
Arrived by Ulrich Pakker
Breaking Earth's Bonds by Ulrich Pakker
Breaking Earth’s Bonds by Ulrich Pakker
Changing Gears by Ulrich Pakker
Changing Gears by Ulrich Pakker