Tag Archives: Locations

Don’t be afraid of Ethnicity

Don’t be afraid of public artwork that strongly demonstrates its origination in  ethnic visual traditions.  Murals can be show people from different backgrounds or painted in the art traditions of non-western cultures.  Why can’t public sculptures be bronze castings of African masks.  Why can’t ceramic murals clearly originate in the traditions of Spanish or Moroccan wall and floor tiles?

In the 19th and 20th century, the dominant art establishment and intellectuals believed that progress and newness in art came exclusively from the artistic inventions in Europe and then the Americas.  Still today, despite the great respect in museums and universities for all traditions in art, the vast majority of public art is dominated by euro-american art.

One major flaw of public art thinking is that works from other cultural traditions should only be seen in the neighborhoods of those ethnic communities.  It is sometimes known as “race matching”.   Art about or by African Americans should be seen in African American neighborhoods, not in the center of downtown.

Given the 150 years of public art in the USA and Florida, some catching up may be required in African American, Caribbean, Mexican and South American neighborhoods.  Pride in community through public art is still a valuable service.

In the 21st century, many mature and talented artists exist from any cultural or ethnic backgrounds.  Many ethnic traditions have been continued by contemporary artists and craftspersons.  Perhaps ethnic and cultural diversity in a public art collection is the true new future.

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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

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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.

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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?

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Existing and Possible New Locations
rolfs1
Current Location
rolfs5
Rosemary and Okeechobee

 

 

 

Idea: Troll for Under the Bridge

Fremont TrollTwice 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.

Aurora Bridge, Seattle
Aurora Bridge, Seattle

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.

Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle
Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle
Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle
Fremont Troll, 1990, Seattle

Of course other trolls exist…………………..

Kim Graham Artist
Kim Graham Artist
Troll in Denmark
Troll in Denmark
Giant under the lawn in Budapest
Giant under the lawn in Budapest
Apennine Colossus, Italy
Apennine Colossus, Italy – Not a troll, but great inspiration.
Royal Palm Bridge
Royal Palm Bridge
Royal Palm Bridge
Royal Palm Bridge

 

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.
Best,
Suzi K Edwards

 

IDEA: Civic Symbol in the Water

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 London Eye
The London Eye

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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.

An Idea for A Cafe
An Idea for A Cafe

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Sculptures on the water have worked to make icons for the city, but not that many.

Artist Janet Echelman, Netherlands
Artist Janet Echelman, Netherlands

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WHERE?

The City might consider at the end of the Evernia Street Pier.

Possible Icon Location on South Pier Downtown
Possible Icon Location on South Pier Downtown

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Landscape Public Art for MLB Training Park

The City is now exploring the kinds of new public park playgrounds, sports fields and other attributes for the new Spring Training Baseball Park.  Since the 1970s, public artists in the United States and around the world have been creating parks and playgrounds.  Here are few ideas that might be valuable to the future users.  The construction of the ballpark may generate as much as $500,000 for artworks.  They can be beautiful, functional and fun.

Dry and Wet Water Retention

Artist Herbert Bayer, Kent, Washington
Artist Herbert Bayer, Kent, Washington

Rolling Landscape for Beauty and Fun

Clothes Pin by Mehmet Ali Uysal
Clothes Pin by Mehmet Ali Uysal

Playgrounds for Kids

playscapes,com
playscapes,com

Playgrounds for Adults

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Swings by Howeler & Yoon Designers, Boston

 

swing-time-by-anthony-flint-atlantic-citylab-howeler-yoon-temporary-art-installation
Ping Pong by Howeler & Yoon Designers, Boston

 

Public Art for the New Developments

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.

Currie-Concept-Image-web
Currie Park Developments
"Tent Site" on Okeechobee Downtown
“Tent Site” on Okeechobee Downtown
Office Tower Downtown at Railroad
Office Tower Downtown at Railroad
Transit Village at Tri Rail Train Staion
Transit Village at Tri Rail Train Staion

Even the Norton Museum of Art will be required to provide outdoor public art that can be seen from the street.

New entrance to the Norton Museum
New entrance to the Norton Museum

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.

IDEA: Really, Really Big Mural on Railroad Parking Garage

IDEA – Giant Mural.   Very long parking garage on the railroad track and Federal Highway between Flagler Bridge/AIA and 3rd Street.  Recent examples of giant murals included.

Parking Garage
Parking Garage from AIA / Flagler Bridge Road
Katharina Grosse, Philadelphia, 2014
Katharina Grosse, Philadelphia, 2014
Garage from 4th Street
Garage from 4th Street
Katharina Grosse, Philadelphia, 2014
Katharina Grosse, Philadelphia, 2014
Hass&Hahn, Rio, Brazil
Hass&Hahn, Rio, Brazil
From 3rd Street
From 3rd Street
OsGemeos, Vancouver, Canada, 2014
OsGemeos, Vancouver, Canada, 2014
JR in Paris
JR in Paris

Big AIA TUrnclose

Big AIA TUrn

See the blog post about Jorge Pardo’s mural south of Okeechoobee.

Jorge Pardo Mural, 1016 Clare Ave, 2006
Jorge Pardo Mural, 1016 Clare Ave, 2006

Coleman Park Baseballs by Shauna Gillies-Smith

On the site of a former Florida State Negro League field, Shauna Gillies-Smith of Ground, Inc. created a space of 9 concrete baseballs and pebble paths in 2005.  Engraved into the baseballs are the names of significant local leaders.    After ten years, the City plans to add new names in 2015.

ColemanPark (10)

coleman park Ariel View

ColemanPark (2)

 

Lincoln Giants, Palm Beach, (1915)
Lincoln Giants, Palm Beach, (1915)
1906  Royal Poinciana Team of the Palm Beachs
1906 Royal Poinciana Team of  Palm Beach