To celebrate Dr. King, consider visiting the West Palm Beach memorial in Currie Park. The memorial was created in 2004 through the leadership of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coordinating Committee. Here is the description from their website:
“The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, located at 2200 N. Flagler Drive, was completed in 2004. The park is the largest of its type in Florida and one of the largest memorials commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. anywhere in the Southern United States. The park contains numerous plaques and photos commemorating Dr. King’s life, family and speeches, interspersed with highlights of the civil rights movement. The highlights are a bronze sculpture of Dr. King backdropped by cascading water on a granite wall and the display of flats, representing areas of great influence to King’s life, waving over the Intracoastal. This park was chosen as only one of five of PSC MILLENNIUM Legacy projects.”
To celebrate African American heritage, be sure to see Augusta Savage’s “Gimin” in the Norton Museum of Art permanent collection. Savage lived in West Palm Beach before moving to NYC and joining the artists of the Harlem Renaissance. More information on Savage here.
On January 16-19 weekend, the MLK Jr. Coordinating Committee has organized many events. Click the image to view the calendar.
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.
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.